DEAN O’Carroll passed away almost three years ago but his memory lives on.
Aged just 22, Dean died from sudden adult death syndrome in December 2009.
“I’m still heartbroken. Myself and his father, we’re still devastated. It feels like it was yesterday,” said his mum Angela. But what has helped the O’Carrolls through their grief are Dean’s friends. Dean was a striker for Abbey Rovers so it is fitting that his friends set up the Dean O’Carroll Memorial Cup soccer tournament to raise money for charity. As a massive Manchester United fan who never missed a match they called it United for Dean.
This is its third year and in addition to the main event in Corbally featuring men, women and underage teams, competitions were held in Australia and New Zealand organised by Limerick ex-pats.
A charity night was also held in Foxy’s Bar and a “jersey drive” for Bothar to distribute sports tops. All the money has been collected and a cheque for over €4,000 was handed over to Bothar in the Glen Tavern last week. There is a special cabinet in the Glen with a picture of Dean and the memorial cup so he never misses a Man Utd match.
Last year they raised €1,000 for the Oncology Unit in the Maternity Hospital so they have quadrupled it this year.
“It’s a great comfort for myself and Joe to see all his friends doing this. It’s overwhelming. It is getting bigger and bigger every year.
“They still call in to us at the house as well. I went down to the tournament in Corbally to thank them but I couldn’t get the words out. I started crying.
“Then Jonathan, Dean’s son - he’s only five - said, ‘I’d like to thank ye all for coming here today for my daddy. Ye’re all winners’. His friends were crying as well,” said Angela, who placed a picture of the cheque on a marble football at his grave bought by his friends.
Dean’s son Jonathan, parents Angela and Joe, sisters Michelle, Jill and Shauna and extended family would like to thank the Callanan family and all in The Glen Tavern, Richie Kennedy, Darragh Nolan, Mark Harrison, Ger Larkin, Danielle Hennessy, David Goodison, Dion Lennon, Colin Scanlan, Mark Ryan, Adam Costelloe, Leonard and Gordon Wallace and the organisers in Australia, the O’Brien, Hickey, Higgins, Drew, Sheehan, Long, Curtin, O’Carroll, McDonagh, Foley families, Castletroy Golf Club, Jack Keane, PMI and everyone who helped organise the events, all the teams and supporters.
See United for Dean Facebook page for more.