A 43-year-old who died within days of a Covid-19 diagnosis will make his last journey through Kent Station today as colleagues line out to pay their final respects.
Donncha Corcoran had spent more than 20 years working with Iarnód Éireann, initially as a chef and later as a train host. Over the years his colleagues had become like a second family, with many describing him as good-natured with a sharp sense of humour. They are preparing to form a socially distanced guard of honour at Kent Station this afternoon following his midday funeral mass at Ballyphehane Church.
Donncha had lived with his father Dinny, sister Linda and niece Jessica in Pouladuff Road before succumbing to heart complications just over a week after a Covid-19 diagnosis.
Kim O'Brien, who was a friend and colleague of Donncha's for more than 20 years, described the human impact of the pandemic.
"We want people to know that this is real," she said. "It will take you if it wants you and there's no turning back. Donncha was more than a number. He was a son, a best friend, a brother and an uncle. This was a person who adored his family. He also loved life. No matter whose birthday or wedding it was he was the first person on the dance floor. It didn't matter who was looking at him, he just loved dancing. Everyone wanted to be in Donncha's company."
A talented sportsman, Donncha was a long-serving member of the Cork Billiards and Snooker Association as well as Blarney Golf Club. Nonetheless, these passions took a back seat as life as we knew it gave way to Covid restrictions.
"Donncha was always so careful," Kim said of his response to the pandemic.
"However, that whole time he didn't once think about himself. All he wanted was to protect his father since they were both living together. His sister and niece were living with him too. Donncha and Linda were best friends and he had an amazing bond with his niece."
Kim said she had been speaking on the phone to Donncha as recently as last week.
"I was chatting about the pandemic and the recent figures. He just laughed and said, "Jesus Kim, have you any good news?" Donncha would always cheer you up no matter how bad the situation was. When you were with him he didn't even have to say anything. Just seeing him constantly smiling was enough to put you in good form."
She said that Donncha had never taken sick days adding:
"When I started on the train he was a chef serving hundreds of breakfasts on the 7am Cork to Dublin train. He did so from the tiniest of kitchens but never complained and was always in good form. One thing about Donncha was that he never had sick days. On Christmas eve of last year, he stepped in to work my shift so I could be at home with my young children."
Many of the people working with Donncha were the same age and shared a number of milestones.
She acknowledged his family and said:
"The main message we would like to get out to Donncha's family is that we are there for them 24/7. We will do everything in our power to keep his memory alive."
Other colleagues shared Kim's sentiment including train driver, Martin Dawe.
"Donncha was the nicest man in the world. He loved the sport especially being out on the golf course because it meant four hours of fresh air. He was always thinking of his family. When he was working Christmas Eve all he was worried about was getting home to cook the turkey for them."
Pat Healy, who also worked with him, said he possessed many positive attributes.
"One of his rare attributes was that he never said a bad word about anybody," Mr Healy said. "In all the time he had worked with us I never heard him speak badly about another employee. He was a gentle soul and everyone is heartbroken by his death."
Donncha was the beloved son of the late Peggy and is dearly missed by his father Dinny, brothers Tommy and Bobby and sisters Anne, Helena and Linda.