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Sunday 21 January 2018

Football-mad Graham (14) dies after kickabout on the road with his friends

Graham O'Connell was due to fly to England this weekend to watch
his heroes Liverpool play Arsenal at home on Sunday
Graham O'Connell was due to fly to England this weekend to watch his heroes Liverpool play Arsenal at home on Sunday

Mark Hilliard and Georgina O'Halloran

A FATHER battled to save the life of his young son who collapsed and died while playing football with his friends near his home.

Graham O'Connell (14) had been playing in the green area of The Steeples, Mayfield, Co Cork, when he collapsed suddenly at about 5.45pm on Monday.

It is understood he had suffered from a heart condition.

The football-mad youngster, and pupil of St Aidan's Community College in Dublin Hill, was due to travel to England at the weekend to watch his beloved Liverpool team play Arsenal.

Following the sudden death, Graham's heartbroken friends started up a Twitter campaign to have him remembered on the Anfield scoreboard tomorrow night when Liverpool play Hearts in the Europa League.

One friend tweeted: "Please remember the passing of 14-year-old Graham O'Connell, a huge Liverpool fan, by displaying his name on the scoreboard Thurs nite."

Local councillor Ted Tynan, who knows the family, said: "There were other kids on the road as well and he just fell down on the ground.


"I called to the house this morning and they are devastated. He was out on the road kicking the ball, looking forward to going over to the Liverpool game next weekend. He would have been full of life that way."

Graham's devastated father David rushed to his son's aid with the help of a local doctor and another neighbour after the teenager collapsed.

The emergency services responded to frantic calls for help and battled to save the young boy's life.

He was later pronounced dead at Cork University Hospital. The O'Connell family were too upset to speak last night.

Graham is survived by his parents David and Jackie and sisters Edel and Karen.

Neighbour Dolores Hosford described Graham as outgoing, chatty and respectful. "We knew him since he was a little kid. He was a big Liverpool fan.

"Hopefully they'll put his name up on the scoreboard," she said.

Graham's removal service will take place this evening at the Coburg Street funeral home at 7pm and the funeral will be at Our Lady Crowned Church in Mayfield at noon tomorrow.

He will be laid to rest in St Catherine's Cemetery, Kilcully.

Irish Independent

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