Followers of Gaelic Games and Soccer throughout Ireland, but especially in Kerry, were shocked to hear of the tragic death on Wednesday afternoon of 28 years old dual Gaelic Footballer and Soccer star, Brendan O’Driscoll who had been rushed to Kerry General Hospital and subsequently transferred to a specialist unit at Cork University Hospital, having collapsed during Sunday’s West Kerry Championship match between Annascaul and Lispole. He had also represented West Kerry in regional competitions.
Eye witnesses report that O’Driscoll collapsed to the ground , some 10 minutes into the second half of that encounter – at a time when the ball was at the other end of the pitch. O’Driscoll had contributed 1-1 of Annascaul’s 1-4 tally when referee Peter Lyons halted the game . By then O’Driscoll had received attention from his cousin and clubmate Gene Farrell.
An Annascaul spokesman feared that the player may have suffered a brain haemorrhage though the actual cause will only be determined at a subsequent inquest into the player’s death.
Brendan O’Driscoll also excelled at Soccer where he was capped by Ireland at Junior International level – his fine displays for Lisselton Rovers and Camp United in the Kerry District League had come to the attention of then Irish Junior boss, Gerry Smyth. is also a talented soccer player and was capped by Irish Junior International manager Gerry Smyth three years ago, having played with both Lisselton Rovers and Camp United in the Kerry District League. At Soccer he had also represented Kerry in the Oscar Traynor Cup.
In a terrible week for Kerry sport , the county’s 1955 All-Ireland winning goalkeeper, Garry O’Mahony also passed away – after a long and brave battle against serious illness .. He was goalkeeper , when the Kingdom beat a much fancied Dublin side in 1955, 0-12 to 1-6.- a victory that was unexpected outside the county against a quality Dublin outfit. Garry was also proud possessor of SFC medals his beloved John Mitchels club in 1952 (v Kenmare) and again in 1959 (v Feale Rangers). ,
O’Mahony had also been the Kerry net minder in 1954 when the Kingdom lost out to Meath – in that Meath side was Peter McDermott ‘the man with the cap’ as Michael O’Hehir often referred to the great Meath footballer and referee , playing at corner forward that day. Sadly Peter McDermott himself passed away a few weeks back. The late Garry O’Mahony later emigrated to England though eventually returned to his native Tralee where he was until his death an avid follower of the fortunes of club and county.
O’Mahony’s team-mates in 1955 numbered among them some of the Kingdom’s greatest stars ,among them John Dowling, Paudie Sheehy,Sean Murphy , Tadghie Lyne and Johnny Culloty who was corner forward in that final but later following a serious injury, was to take over in goals.Culloty too starred in the Kerry hurling team for some years before retiring where he acted in many capacities including that of selector on many Kerry teams. Another key man that day was Jerome O’Shea, father of Irish rugby great Conor O’Shea,whom many tip as future Irish rugby supremo. currently with Harlequins.