Tuesday 16 July 2019

'We never realised the support the club could give' - mother explains how Bohs helped ease pain after tragic loss of son

The avid Bohs supporter was just 21 when he passed away, but his life will be celebrated by a five-a-side tournament in his name

Bohemians fans pay tribute to their fellow supporter Cian Mullally. Picture courtesy of www.bohemianfc.com
Bohemians fans pay tribute to their fellow supporter Cian Mullally. Picture courtesy of www.bohemianfc.com

John Morley

Mary Mullally reflected on her late son's life and unwavering love for League of Ireland club Bohemians when commemorating his 22nd birthday yesterday.

"He's never out of our minds, particularly when we see Bohs matches. His cousin now comes up to the Bohs matches because he knows Cian followed them," she said.

Cian Mullally was an avid supporter of Bohemians to such an extent that he was honoured by the Dalymount Park faithful singing an emotional rendition of the club's anthem 'Hold Me Now' by Johnny Logan at his graveside last November.

Cian's suicide evoked an outpouring of emotion from the League of Ireland club, Naas FC, Éire Óg-Corrachoill Hurling Club and all other sporting and communal organisations who knew the Caragh, Co. Kildare native, who was 21-years-old when he died.

Fresh from finishing his Leaving Cert, Cian enthusiastically signed up for the army and loved the physical nature to the job from the outset, becoming a budding soldier in the Irish Defence Forces.

Out of all his passions, however, Cian's mother Mary knew that Bohs were huge to her son, but even she couldn't begin to comprehend how far that love stretched, on both sides, until his funeral.

Cian Mullally, who passed away last November
Cian Mullally, who passed away last November

"We always knew that he supported Bohemians, but we never realised the support the club could give to everybody, really they have been outstanding," said Mrs Mullally.

"A huge contingent from the supporter's club turned up at the funeral and they had one of those flags (tributing Cian) at the funeral showing their support."

"They knelt out in the rain on the morning of the burial mass in the church. The church was overflowing in capacity and they were outside holding up their flags and kneeling in the grass and they were just drowned wet."

Mrs Mullally was amazed by Bohemains' 'family network' and the support the club showed to the family in the months following her son's passing.

In tribute to Cian, the family were invited to Bohemians' first home game of the season and the esteem in which the young fan is held was evident from the scenes at Dalymount Park.

Huge banners filled the stands saying 'Long Live Mullally!' and 'R.I.P Cian Mullally One Of Our Own' as the club paid respect to their loyal supporter and friend.

Cian's home club, Naas FC wanted some way of paying tributing to their loyal teammate, who had positively impacted and enriched the lives of so many people in the club.

A close friend of Cian, Ben Holmes, provided the answer in the form of a five-a-side tournament to pay tribute to the his football and Bohs fanatical friend.

The charity #ok2talkIRL was set up by Cian's friends and soccer coaches following his death and aims to raise awareness around mental health, with the message 'It's okay to talk' when suffering the effects of mental health issues.

The tournament takes place on Saturday June 29 in the Naas Sports Centre and Cian's mother described it as a 'free festival' for all the family, with upwards of 64 teams competing.

Bohemians manager Keith Long has also confirmed that the club's management team will also be entering a team into the five-a-side tournament.

She praised the innovation of Cian's friend Ben in taking such proactive steps in helping

"Ben wanted to get the message out there that suicide is not a great thing as a last resort and that there are a lot of stages or steps and help that can be got along the way before that," said Mrs Mullally.

The Newbridge branch of Samaritans are the chosen charity of the football tournament this year and Mrs Mullally stressed the importance of their work in the local community.

"This year we decided that the funds would go towards Samaritans because they don't get an awful lot of funding nationally and they are a local organisation here and we wanted to keep it local," she said.

"They provide a great service, they're alway at the end of a phone for people who need help and I think a lot of young people didn't realise what it was, or what the work was that the Samaritans did," she added.

For those wishing to compete in the tournament, team bookings can be made via Eventbrite and queries can be made via ok2talkirl@gmail.com and 087 908 5437.

One of Cian's Bohs friends also set up a GoFundMe page for those unable to attend but who wish to donate instead:

https://www.gofundme.com/kbxwx-cian-mullally-memorial-cup-ok2talkirl

Samaritans' 24-hour freephone helpline is at 116-123 or email jo@samaritans.ie

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