Heartfelt tributes have been pouring in for a 21-year-old jockey who was killed on the roads near Mallow this weekend when the car he was driving collided with a bus.
John O’Connor, from Lismire in north Cork, was travelling on the N72 Mallow to Killarney Road on Saturday evening when the incident took place.
The vehicles collided head-on at around 6.15pm, some 4km outside Mallow.
Since news of his death emerged on Saturday night, hundreds of “heartbroken, shocked, and saddened” people have paid tribute to John, a past pupil of Mallow’s Boherbue Comprehensive School.
A series of poignant tributes were shared on the Irish Point to Point racing website.
Among them was girlfriend Karen Reidy, who said saying goodbye to John was one of the hardest things she ever had to put into words.
“John I’m going to miss you more than anything. You were my best friend, my one and only, and I’ll be truly lost without you,” she said.
“I’ll never forget all the mad times we had and being on the phone all night making loads of plans like pure dreamers… memories I’ll cherish forever. Until we meet again babe, I love you so much.”
John was a track work rider at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education in Kildare and was also a well-known and much-respected point to point jockey.
A statement on the Point to Point website said he “showed much promise” riding six winners last season, while jockeys at Leopardstown wore black armbands yesterday as a mark of respect.
Friends from the racing world described John as “one in a million”, “the perfect gentleman”, and “one of the best lads that anyone could possibly know”.
“A thousand memories I had taken for granted, just mostly because I had assumed we would have thousands more,” wrote friend Eoin O’Sullivan.
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