Funeral of boy (14) who died following collision during GAA match in Co Kerry

‘Aodhán, you brought smiles to people’s faces,’ priest tells large congregation

Funeral of Aodhán O’Connor, Dingle, Co Kerry. Photograph:  Domnick Walsh

Funeral of Aodhán O’Connor, Dingle, Co Kerry. Photograph: Domnick Walsh

 

Aodhán Ó Conchúir brought smiles to people’s faces on and off the football pitch and had accomplished much in his short life, the congregation at St Mary’s Church in Dingle, Co Kerry was told.

The Junior Cert student, who would have been 15 on March 24th, died on Saturday at Cork University Hospital (CUH).

He was involved in a collision and received a head injury after he and a number of players went for the ball during the under-15 Russell Cup match against St Brendan’s College, Killarney on Wednesday last at Pairc an Aghasaigh.

Among the many hundreds of mourners were his teachers, school colleagues and team mates from Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, many of whom cried openly.

Representatives of soccer and GAA, as well as the wider community, and family friends from South Africa, New York, Boston and elsewhere also attended.

The Bishop of Kerry, Dr Ray Browne, sent his condolences and the mass was concelebrated by seven priests.

Guards of honour were provided by Aodhán’s school, Camp Junior FC and Dingle GAA. The Dingle Fife and Drum Band as well as the GAA accompanied his cortege to St Brendan’s Cemetery outside the town.

Minutes later the first snow started to fall.

Gifts brought to the altar included a photograph of his family; his headphones; his football and soccer jerseys; his woodwork project which his class-mates finished for him this week, and the boots he played in so often, as well as a soccer ball and a football.

Fr Joseph Begley, Dingle parish priest, said Aodhán had loved sport and had recently signed up to the Kerry soccer under-15 panel.

‘Laoch spóirt’

The mass switched seamlessly from Irish to English throughout and Aodhán would be remembered as a “laoch spóirt”, the priest said.

“Aodhán, you brought smiles to people’s faces, your witty comments, your dry sense of humour and sometimes mimicking people,” Fr Begley said.

He had had a special place in his heart for Milly, the family dog, and his bicycle.

“My goodness he minded that bicycle!” Fr Begley said. He would keep the bike in his bedroom and lift it over the driveway in case it would get dirty.

Last weekend at CUH, Aodhán’s family had made a decision to donate his organs, the priest revealed.

“This truly is kindness, generosity and consideration for others. A lifeline gifted in the midst of one’s own pain and loss, benefiting in this instance six people. It is a wonderful testimony to what love, true love is for human kind,” the priest said.

The help of the community, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, sporting organisations, the ambulance crew, the doctors and especially the nurses at CUH “who went beyond the call of duty” was acknowledged by the priest.

Aodhán is survived by parents Áine and John, sister Ciara, grandfather Jack McKivergan, aunts Siobhán, Rose and Caitríona, uncles Joe, Brendan, Martin, Seán, Brian, Kieran and Paudie.

Among the many who attended the funeral were Kerry football GAA manager Eamon Fitzmaurice, and Sean Coffey, the principal of St Brendan’s College, Killarney .