Monday 19 March 2018

Talented sportsman never looked for trouble

Jason O'Brien

HIS friends were adamant yesterday that Warren O'Connor wasn't the kind of person who would ever go looking for trouble.

Unfortunately, trouble found Warren O'Connor.

The talented young footballer and former soldier died early on Saturday morning after a row about music spilled over into a car chase and a brutal stabbing.

The horrific incident occurred on Hole in the Wall Road in north Dublin, about two miles from Mr O'Connor's family home on Ferrycarrig Road in Coolock. Floral tributes lining the footpath yesterday were the only indication of the violence. There was a framed picture of the 24-year-old socialising with friends, another of him being kissed on the cheek by a young woman.

The brief messages spoke of love, and of deep shock.

"I never heard a cross word said about him, he was an easy-going lad and he enjoyed his football," Joey Graydon, his manager at Killester United, said.

"He was a really, really nice boy, always pleasant and always laughing and joking. He wasn't one of those people who would ever go looking for trouble."

Mr Graydon described him as "a huge guy -- young, fit and good looking", and with everything to live for.

But today his family is facing up to life without him. His father, Frank, said that they were in shock. "We can't get our heads around it," he said. "He did not deserve to die like this."

Warren had served with the Defence Forces between 2003 and 2006, but sport was a constant in his life. He spent four years at local soccer side Coolock Town FC and was named Player of the Year last season, before moving up the divisions to Killester during the summer.

"There's a feeling of numbness among the members of our club -- they're a very close group of lads playing in the area and Warren was very popular," Coolock Town manager Anthony Ryan said.

Warren also played Gaelic Football with St Laurence O'Toole's club on Dublin's northside and was a close friend of Dublin GAA star Eamonn Fennell (25), who dedicated his performance for Dublin in their O'Byrne Cup win over Wexford to his pal's memory. He added: "I just want to say that my thoughts are with Warren's family and I hope they all get through it."

Yesterday, locals were reluctant to talk about the events of Saturday morning.

"My girlfriend lives in there and she heard the music, and she heard a bit of screaming but to be honest she thought that was it -- a bit of shouting," one man said. "But it spiralled out of control." And a young man with everything to live for died on the road outside.

Irish Independent

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