Throughout its 92-year history, Mallow United has gone through periods of change and transformation, many fine people have come and gone and there have been days to celebrate and some days that may be best forgotten. For the last 55 years however there has been a constant figure present, a man who’s loyalty and dedication has never waivered, ensuring the club stayed on a steady path as in encountered one hurdle after another throughout the decades. Mallow Uniteds John O’Connell developed a passion for local soccer as a boy in the 1950s in an era when trains full of supporters would travel the rail line connecting Mallow and Fermoy for highly charged north Cork derbies. Over the years John went on to play in the clubs street leagues and later represented the club on the field of play. John went on to join the Mallow United committee where he served in many roles and established a reputation for being a reliable clubman, always available to offer opinion at a meeting or assist with a fundraising event. Acting without fuss and never looking for thanks, John a true gentleman, has served the club in a discreet manner such that many of those who benefitted from his tireless efforts will not be aware of his immense contribution. Last week Mallow United’s longest serving club man enjoyed a much deserved moment in the limelight when he was invited to the Aviva Stadium for Ireland versus Wales where he was hosted as a VIP guest of the FAI and given the best seat in the house, rubbing shoulders with the power brokers in Irish sport. Having returned to more humble surroundings in his native Mallow John continues as a committee member making a valuable contribution to the club, most recently playing a pivotal role in the reintroduction of the Mallow United Soccer Cards. The current committee would like to express their gratitude to John and hope he will continue with the club for many years to come, always on hand to tell tales from days gone by, providing an invaluable connection to the clubs rich history.
Aviva Stadium, Dublin