Hundreds of people queued to pay their respects as Christy O’Connor Jnr left his beloved Knocknacarra for the final time yesterday evening.
The golfer’s wife Ann, son Nigel and daughter Ann, and extended family members, greeted mourners for over four hours at St Anthony’s Room within the Church of St John the Apostle in Knocknacarra, where the Ryder Cup hero lay in repose.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, businessman Ben Dunne and GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh were among the mourners who queued before removal to Galway Cathedral yesterday evening.
The deceased golfer’s uncle and mentor, 91-year old Christy O’Connor Snr, was unable to attend the removal and sent his condolences from his Dublin home.
A family member said Christy Snr, who had nurtured his nephew and had turned him into a Ryder Cup star like himself, was extremely upset at the sudden death of his protégé.
Traffic came to a standstill in the west of the city as Mr O’Connor was taken from Knocknacarra near Salthill where he grew up, to the city centre.
Thousands of people are expected to attend his funeral mass at 1 pm today when his lifelong friend, former mayor of Galway John Mulholland, will deliver a eulogy.
The golfer, who died suddenly while on holiday in Tenerife last week with his wife, will be laid to rest with his 17-year old son Darren, who was killed in a road crash accident in 1998.
The 67-year old would not have needed the famous two-iron which captured the 1989 Ryder Cup at The Belfry to reach Galway Golf Club from the home in Knocknacarra where he grew up.
He was a regular visitor back to Knocknacarra and Salthill and maintained friendships which began when he was growing up and attending national school in the Claddagh.
Hundreds of neighbours from Knocknacarra, Salthill, Clybawn, Ballymoneen and Barna, were among the mourners to pay respects to the O’Connor family yesterday afternoon and evening, with the mayor of Galway, Independent councillor Frank Fahy, expressing his sympathy on behalf of the city.
Mr O’Connor was the recipient of an honorary degree at NUI Galway and was a freeman of Galway, will be laid to rest in Rahoon cemetery on the west of the city.
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