Tributes have been paid to former All-Ireland winning Cork footballer Kieran O’Connor, who passed away today after a long illness.
County Chairperson Tracey Kennedy said that it was with great sadness that Cork GAA learned of Mr O’Connor’s passing.
“He was a tower of strength on the field of play, and showed that same strength of character and courage in dealing with his illness over the past few years,"she said. “He will be an unimaginable loss to his family, and on behalf of all in Cork GAA, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Kieran’s wife Sinéad, their three children, Isabelle, Ava and James, and also to his parents Pat and Mary, sister Aisling and brothers Patrick and John Paul.
“Our condolences also to his club, Aghada, his wonderful friends who did so much to support the family throughout Kieran’s illness, and all who mourn his loss."
His club Aghada GAA described him as 'one of our greatest clubmen and dearest of friends'.
"The courage, determination, spirit, and bravery of Kieran as a player was seen at its finest over the last 3 years as he battled his illness with dignity and respect," the club said in a statement. "Today is one of the saddest occasions our club has ever known. There are no words that will capture just what Kieran O’Connor meant to Aghada GAA. We know that Aghada was embedded in Kieran's heart and his club meant so so much to him also.
"We are honoured to be able to call him an Aghada man."
Mr O'Connor had undergone chemotherapy and surgery after his cancer diagnosis in 2017 and his lower leg was amputated in January last year before the news that his cancer had spread.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Mr O’Connor and his family raise funds for his medical treatments raised over €324,000, surpassing the goal of €250,000.
A member of the panel when Cork beat Down to the All-Ireland title in 2010, Mr O’Connor said last year that he was treating his cancer treatment with the same attitude he had when playing football and said that he planned to fight it all the way.
He will be missed by his wife Sineád, daughters Isabelle and Ava and son James, his family and friends, fellow football players and members of Aghada GAA club and the wider Cork community.