CORK City chairman Declan Carey has described the death of Finbarr O’Shea as a huge loss to the club.
A long-serving volunteer at the club, wearing his distinctive flat green cap, Finbarr died with Covid-19 on Wednesday. Carey hopes that the club can honour his memory going forward.
“It’s a huge loss again for the club, he was a real stalwart,” he said.
“He was an ever-present at the Cross. It’s very sad for his family and friends and everyone who knew him through City.
“He’ll be forever in our thoughts and we’ll do our best to try to honour his memory as best we can. Obviously, we’ve lost some great club supporters in recent times – John Kennedy last year and Kevin Lynch recently as well.
“It’s unfortunate that we can’t pay our respects to these people in the way that we would like to but we’ll definitely have some sort of memorial for them, like the sweatshirt we released to honour John. We’re trying to remember people in unique ways in what is a very difficult situation.”
One of Carey’s predecessor as chairman, current first-team kit man Mick Ring, shared similar sentiments. While not everybody would have known Finbarr’s name, his omniscience at Turner’s Cross ensured that he was recognised by most visitors to the ground.
“Everybody knew his face,” he said, “but for years I didn’t actually know his name!
“For as long as I can remember, he was a fixture at Turner’s Cross and as the years went on, I got to know him better, especially in the last 10 years and when I took on the role as kit man.
“Finbarr was one of the tunnel stewards and, once the match had started and I’d go out, he’d go in and clean the dressing room! He loved doing it and it was a huge help to me.
“He’d do anything he was asked – Tony Tobin wrote a poem about him and called him ‘the oldest ballboy!’”
Such understated levels of dedication to a club mean that the extent of the work often isn’t noticed until it’s gone.
“He had a smile for everyone and it was infectious, a friendly face that you liked to see around the place.
“Replacing people like that is so difficult – it’s like when John Kennedy died, you realise how much they did, five or six different roles. I won’t say it’s impossible to replace them but it does leave a big void.”