THE ABBEYFEALE boy who became a chart sensation while battling cancer last year fulfilled another dream this month, when he led his sporting heroes Manchester United out on to the pitch at Old Trafford.
Nine-year-old Adam O’Sullivan took the country by storm last Christmas with his rendition of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ with The High Kings, which raised money for Temple Street and Crumlin Children’s Hospitals.
After appearing on The Late Late Show and singing on the pitch at Thomond Park, Adam, who is bravely fighting a benign brain tumour, got another taste of the limelight on August 5 when he was a mascot at Paul Scholes’ testimonial match against the New York Cosmos – following a personal request from Sir Alex Ferguson himself.
Adam’s mother Joanne said that despite a “rough year” in which Adam once again had to undergo surgery and radiotherapy, meeting the stars of Manchester United has helped keep his spirits as buoyant as ever.
“Adam’s doing fine. He’s excited about heading back to school and seeing all his friends again.
“To be honest, it’s been a rough year, but being a mascot at Paul Scholes’ testimonial was very special.
“He’s used to the limelight at this stage, but he was definitely in awe of the players. We all loved it”.
Joanne said that the wheels were set in motion for Adam to visit Old Trafford last October, after his heralded performance on the Late Late Show, when Sir Alex Ferguson personally phoned the family and wished them luck with their fund raising campaign.
Adam was then placed on a list of potential team mascots. However, when the club first contacted the family and asked if Adam wanted to lead the team out at Old Trafford earlier this year, they had to decline as he was in hospital receiving a six-week course of radiotherapy.
Nonetheless, the club promised to come back to Adam when he was well, and shortly before Scholes’ testimonial they were in touch again and organised to bring him, his mother, his father Denis and his six-year-old brother Billy to Manchester.
While they were there the family received a tour of Old Trafford and met with Manchester United players, both past and present.
Joanne said that while her son was “in awe” of his football heroes, he wasn’t half as dumbstruck as his father, who got to meet his own hero - Eric Cantona. “He was even more excited than Adam”, she said.
Adam has been home at Ballaugh since he was released from hospital in April, and since then the trip to Manchester has been just one of a number of exciting adventures for a boy getting back into a whirlwind groove.
In July, he performed live on stage with The High Kings at the INEC in Killarney and later that month, to celebrate Adam’s ninth birthday, the family had an action-packed break at Legoland in England.
Now, having rubbed shoulders with soccer stars, Joanne said that Adam is looking forward to one of life’s more predictable joys – going back to school at St Mary’s Boys NS in Abbeyfeale on September 1.
“He’s really looking forward to that. He loves school and he’s always talking about his friends there.”
Joanne admits that Adam is likely to need regular hospital treatment for years to come.
“But they’re hoping that when he gets older and it gets easier to manage, they can bring it back to a yearly appointment.
“It’s difficult, but you have to try and keep going. It’s just about learning to cope”.
The High Kings, meanwhile, have kept in regular contact with Adam and the family since last year’s chart campaign.
“They’re such wonderful guys. We know them all so well at this stage” Joanne said. “They often ring and ask about Adam. They’re very fond of him. It’s funny, Adam says once or twice that he’d love to do it all over again”.