Kieran O’Connor fundraiser surpasses €250,000 goal

By Steve Neville

A fundraiser for former Cork footballer Kieran O’Connor has surpassed its goal of €250,000.

The GoFundMe page, set up by Friends of Kieran, was organised to help O’Connor and his family to beat Ewing’s Sarcoma Cancer.

The fundraiser has now raised over €270,000 in four days.

Kerry GAA announced late last night that when they take on Mayo in Austin Stack Park on Saturday night there will be a bucket collection to support O'Connor.

O'Connor enjoyed seven years playing for the Cork footballers, winning an All-Ireland, three Munster titles and two National Football Leagues.

The Aghada defender was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in October 2017 after "a throbbing pain in his right ankle".

Aggressive chemotherapy and an operation on the tumour followed in 2018 and by the end of that year he was feeling well.

However in January 2019, with the wound not healing properly, another operation took place and his lower leg was amputated.

While recovering, O'Connor experienced back pain and learned his cancer had spread.

The GoFundMe page states that the money raised is for for Kieran, his wife Sinead, and children Isabelle (7), Ava (5) and James (1).

Kieran and Sinead with James (1), Isabelle (7), Ava (5) October 2018

"Funds are needed to help Kieran with all aspects on further treatment and care, as well as potential prosthetic costs following his lower leg amputation and to help support Sinead and their three young children.

"We want Kieran to concentrate on beating cancer and getting back to good health."

Since the page was set up, there has been an outpouring of support for O'Connor and his family.

His captain in Cork's 2010 All-Ireland triumph, Graham Canty, wrote a moving piece calling for support in the Irish Examiner.

"One of the 100 percenters in our group was Kieran O’Connor from Aghada," wrote Canty.

"Kieran is a man you would pick to go to war with you.

"When I say war, I’m not using it in a metaphorical sense. I mean if there was an actual war, in the trenches akin to World War 1, life and death stuff, I would pick him to stand beside me. Because you knew what you would get from him; he would fight to the death.

"He would never leave your side. He would have your back. If, in your peripheral vision you saw Kieran had engaged an enemy target, he would take him down or die trying. I am certain of that."

Canty adds: "If I put myself in Kieran’s position or my own wife in Sinéad’s position, this would be the most frightened we could ever imagine ourselves to be.

"The time has come when he needs our help and I don’t think the group is enough this time. We need more.

"Any help would be appreciated, more than you could ever know."

If you would like to support the Friends of Kieran, you can find the GoFundMe page and more information here.

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