GAA legends of past and present bid final farewell to Kerry great
IT was like a hall of fame of football heroes, all gathered to pay tribute to one of the greats, Kerry legend John Egan.
Stars of Gaelic football past and present filed past the coffin to pay their respects to the six-times All-Ireland senior football medal winner who passed away on Easter Sunday aged 59.
The former Cork-based garda became ill at his Bishopstown home that morning while he had been preparing to attend Mass. He had suffered bad health for some time but his untimely death shocked friends and family.
Team-mates from the great Kerry teams of the 1970s and 80s formed a guard of honour to accompany Mr Egan's remains to the Church of the Real Presence in Curraheen in Cork city last night.
Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan lined out once more alongside football superstars Jack O'Shea, Mikey Sheehy, Pat Spillane, Willie Maher, Paidi O Se, Tom Spillane, Paudie O'Mahony, Sean Walsh, Ogie Moran, Eoin 'Bomber' Liston and Ger O'Keeffe.
Their legendary manager Mick O'Dwyer was also at the removal.
Members from the local Bishopstown club and from Mr Egan's native Sneem also made up the guard of honour.
Among the first to arrive at O'Connor's funeral home on Sarsfield's Road in Wilton last night was former Sunderland chairman and Ireland international Niall Quinn. Mr Egan's son John plays with the club but is currently on loan to Sheffield United.
Current players including Paul Galvin, Colm Cooper joined past stars Seamus Moynihan, Declan O'Keeffe and Darragh O Se in paying their respects.
Retired commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh, who had known Mr Egan for more than 40 years, also attended with his wife Helena.
"He was one of the leading lights and everything he showed in the early years as a minor player, he showed in later years on that team," Mr O Muircheartaigh said.
"He's been called the 'unsung hero' but I don't agree with that. Everyone knew who John Egan was and his contribution."
Greats from the world of Cork GAA were united with their Kerry neighbours, including Larry Tompkins; Billy Morgan; Niall Cahalane; Ray Cummins; Gerard McCarthy; Ger Cunningham; and Johnny Crowley. Once fierce foes on the sports field, a strong friendship developed between Mr Cahalane and Mr Egan.
Representatives from the county boards of Cork and Kerry were also in attendance, as were former garda colleagues of Mr Egan who had worked alongside him in Kildorrery, Cobh, Togher/Bishopstown and Portlaoise.
Mr Egan will be buried in Chetwynd cemetery, Togher after 11am funeral Mass today.