Delaney leads tributes to Kerry soccer legend

George O'Callaghan, who died this week.
George O'Callaghan, who died this week.

Stephen Fernane

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney has paid tribute to George O'Callaghan whose death has saddened the entire Kerry soccer community. Better known as 'Georgie', the popular Castleisland man was a lover of the game and devoted his life to Castleisland AFC.

Mr Delaney said the word 'legend' is used too much these days, but stated that Georgie was the epitome of one. "I knew Georgie very well and counted him as a good friend. With over four decades of football experience under his belt in the region, there wouldn't be many players that didn't come into contact with him at one point or another. He was a father figure of football in Kerry, and will be sorely missed," he said. Nowhere will George's loss be more keenly felt than within his own club and the people who knew him most.

"He is the heart and soul of our club and was one of the founders in 1973. He's been highly involved in the underage from the bottom up to senior. Everyone had such great time for him," said Neil O'Sullivan, PRO of Castleisland AFC.

A native of Camp, Castleisland, George made many friends through his links with the game, including in Manchester where every August he took underage teams to play games and take in United's first home game of the season at Old Trafford.

"He just loved these trips and so did the players. George's legacy will live on and he'll never be forgotten for all the work he's done for our club," Neil added.

KDL Secretary John O'Regan, also paid tribute to George saying he was an avid follower of the game who did unbelievable work for his club.

"On behalf of the KDL I wish to extent my sympathies to his family and to his club. George was very well liked and he was a soccer man at heart. I don't think it's possible to find someone with the same passion for the game as George had," John said.

"I knew George all my life and he was liked by everyone. You could always approach George for information at any time, he was very helpful. He was such a laid back man and he never got excited. His death was very sudden and he'll be sorely missed," Mike said.

Details of George's funeral arrangements were not known at the time of going to print.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.