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Coolock Town mourns tragic loss of Warren

Sometimes football just has to take a back seat, alas this is one of those occasions. During the past couple of months our once fair city endured a spate of violent crimes.

A number of them were gangland fuelled and drug related, but, on the 16th of January last, an innocent man lost his life.

A young man of 24 with a bright future ahead of himself was stabbed to death in Donaghmeade.

You listen to the news and it's just another murder, you listen on, however, and you realise that the victim was just doing what most of would have done given the circumstances.

The victim's name is released, you recognise it and then you hear the word 'football' and you think 'oh no.'

I didn't really know Warren O'Connor when he played with the all-conquering Coolock Town last season. He was one of the quieter members of the squad.

I had gotten to know most of the Coolock squad courtesy of their decent run in the FAI Junior and their involvement in Gerry Davis' AFL squad. They are a decent bunch of lads who were a credit to themsleves and a credit to the Amateur Football League.

I spoke and had a laugh with most of them and was invited to share in their success at the end of the season. I don't think I ever had a chat with Warren. I can recall however forwarding his name to Gerry for inclusion in the AFL squad.

After serving in the Defence Forces, Warren had recently being accepted as a firefighter - a career where he was at the coalface of protecting and ensuring the citizenry of Dublin were safe.

His future was mapped and he was looking after it and he had so much to look forward to.

When the Coolock team split up he went to play with Killester United and was making progress there also. A regular position on the first team was imminent by all accounts.

His passing is a tragedy, his old teammates are devastated as are his former coaches. 'It doesn't bear thinking about, we're all in bits,' Anto Ryan told me.

I received a couple of texts from some of his former colleagues at Coolock. Alan Talbot asked me to dedicate my 'short passes' column to his best pal Warren O'Connor.

I had already decided to do so. There can be no consoling his family at present and my thoughts are with them as they suffer through this dreadful tragedy.

He was described as the rock of the family by his mother and though, as I have already mentioned, I never spoke to him, I could see that quality in him.

I would imagine that he was an easy man to manage on a football pitch, he was forever well groomed and unlike some of his teammates I would wager that his name rarely appeared in a referee's notebook.

Anto Ryan, Anto Kelly and Eamon Langan his former coaches had this to say also: 'Coolock Town, amongst others, have been left mourning the tragic loss of Warren O'Connor. Warren, a very talented footballer was a member of Coolock Town's treble winning team of last season and also the club's Player of the Year.

He was very popular and well liked within the club and league and among all who knew him. He went about his buisness on an off the field in a thoroughly professional manner and was a credit to his family and club

The thoughts of the management, players and committee of Coolock Town are with Warren's family.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends I sincerely feel for you all at this time. May your friend, son, or brother rest in eternal peace.