Taoiseach among mourners as Maureen is laid to rest
Taoiseach Enda Kenny travelled to Killarney on Friday to offer his sympathies to Kerry star Colm Cooper, brothers Danny, Mark, Mike and Vince and sisters Geraldine and Karen, as the well known GAA family buried their mother, Maureen Cooper, aged 72.
Sympathisers turned out in their thousands at O'Shea's Funeral Home on Friday and again at Requiem Mass at the Church of the Resurrection on Saturday.
Members of the current Kerry squad and manager Eamon Fitzmaurice were kitted in their county track suits. Indeed, it was a who's who of the great and the good of Kerry football and the wider GAA fraternity and amongst the first to sympathise were former Kerry and Crokes manager Pat O'Shea, eight-time All-Ireland medalist Mikey Sheehy and the legendary Mick O'Dwyer who was warmly embraced by Colm, a player he rates as the best of an era.
More than half-an-hour before O'Shea's Funeral Home was due to open on Friday, sympathisers extended hundreds of yards along Cathedral Place. They travelled from beyond the county bounds too, including GAA President Liam O'Neill and former Munster Council Chairman Sean Walsh.
An ardent GAA fan - although reticent to watch when her children were playing - Maureen attended a county championship game on July 13 to witness a ground-breaking win by Legion over Dr Crokes and only last week she attended a family engagement function.
Chief celebrant Fr Kevin McNamara said that Maureen, who was predeceased by her husband Mike in 2006, was a generous woman who faced death with courage. Her daughter Karen said she was an "amazing mother" who preferred to remain in the background and always put family first.
Draped in the black and amber of her beloved Dr Crokes, Maureen was carried to her final resting place at Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery on Saturday by the sons who have excelled for the local club.
Afterwards, Kerry County Board Chairman Pat O'Sullivan led the tributes to a woman who was widely respected in her native Ardshanavooley and across Killarney.
"All of the Cooper family have been exceptional sports people, all five sons have played with Dr Crokes and have achieved county championship honours with the club," he said.
"Maureen and her late husband Mike were very proud of their children's achievements and they're a close knit family who are very supportive of each other. Everyone knows the influence a mother has on a family and Maureen kept all their feet on the ground. They all achieved a lot in life and their sons and daughters are a credit to herself and Mike," the Killarney man added.