AN IMPRESSIVE €118,574 has been raised in support of a Killarney teenager seriously injured in a cycling accident and his family.
The Ian O’Connell Benefit Fund was organised by Spa GAA Club and numerous other sporting and voluntary organisations, including anglers and golfers, on both sides of the Kerry/Cork border, also became actively involved.
Ian, aged 16, of Pinewood Estate, Killarney, suffered damage to his neck and spine after falling from his bike in the Muckross area of Killarney National Park, on August 16 last. He is currently being treated in Dublin’s Mater Hospital.
The St Brendan’s College student is a juvenile footballer with Spa GAA club, a hurler with Dr Crokes and also plays with Killarney Celtic soccer club.
Chairman of the Spa fund-raising committee James Gleeson said “something amazing” had happened in recent weeks and the amount raised had surpassed all expectations.
“Starting out, we thought around €20,000 might be collected, but the way the campaign took off was incredible,” he said.
“It showed the extraordinary level of respect for Ian and his family. It also showed how effective the GAA network is and the feeling of goodwill on both sides of the Blackwater. Many other organisations and schools also became involved. It was truly staggering.”
Speaking at a function in the Spa club, Mr Gleeson thanked all who supported the fund and the media and also said there had been significant anonymous donations.
Most of the money was collected through a special lotto fundraiser by the Spa club. Funds have been transferred to a trust fund to be administered by three trustees on behalf of the club.
Ian’s father, Mike, a driver with Leane’s Tool Hire, Killarney, is a native of Boherbue, Co Cork, and Boherbue GAA club also organised a special lotto.
Thanking everybody for their support, Mike said Ian is in good form and is in regular contact with his peers.
Funds are continuing to come in and a bank account has been set up at AIB, Main Street, Killarney:
Account Name: Ian O’Connell Fund
Account Number: 64056025
Sort Code: 936332
Above: Spa GAA Club secretary Deirdre O’Sullivan Darcy, chairman Gerard Mangan and fundraiser chairman Jim Gleeson present the Ian O’Connell Trust Fund cheque to Michael O’Connell in the clubhouse.