Tributes paid to 'heartbeat' of Cork City FC, Lifelong fan John Kennedy

Tributes paid to 'heartbeat' of Cork City FC, Lifelong fan John Kennedy

John Kennedy with fellow Cork City fan Seamus Moynihan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Tributes have poured in for lifelong Cork City fan and club legend John Kennedy, who died suddenly over the weekend.

Mr Kennedy was a volunteer and supporter of the club for more than 30 years.

Originally from Skibbereen, he was also well known around Cork for his work with the youth organisations Ógra Chorcaí and later, Foróige.

In a statement, Cork City FC said Mr Kennedy was "known around the country for his loyalty, enthusiasm, and love of Cork City".

John Kennedy and fans from the family enclosure at the friendly between Cork City and Watford at Turners Cross /Picture: Eddie O'Hare
John Kennedy and fans from the family enclosure at the friendly between Cork City and Watford at Turners Cross /Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The club said: "Through the family enclosure, John organised buses getting supporters to and from almost every away game, and was a recognisable face to all Rebel Army supporters.

"It was through John and his work with the family enclosure that so many of us first came to experience Turner’s Cross and ultimately fall in love with our club.

"John made it so that all families had a fun, colourful, and noisy experience when they visited the Cross, and many returned.

"John was the epicentre for our club’s role and work in the community, which made our club a home for many of those less fortunate."

Cork City chairman Declan Carey said Mr Kennedy's legacy "would never be forgotten".

He said: “His passing has come as a shock to us all.

"This is an extremely sad time for John’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with them all at this very difficult time and we will support them whatever way we can.

"The club will continue to honour the legacy John has left behind.” 

Dozens of tributes were posted on Twitter by friends and fellow Cork City supporters over the weekend, something which Mr Kennedy's daughter Grace said would have put "the biggest smirk" on her father's face.

In 2005 Cork City Liaison Officer Noelle Feeney (RIP) getting the Echo Bear, a.k.a. John Kennedy, (RIP) ready for the big match against Derry City at Turner's Cross. Picture: Richard Mills.
In 2005 Cork City Liaison Officer Noelle Feeney (RIP) getting the Echo Bear, a.k.a. John Kennedy, (RIP) ready for the big match against Derry City at Turner's Cross. Picture: Richard Mills.

Thanking people for their expressions of condolence, she said: "Everyone’s kind words and posts have meant more to us as a family than people will ever know.

"RIP Dad, may you shine bright like you always did, singing a Cork City FC chant."

Cork City operations manager Éanna Buckley said: “John was a friend, a mentor, a colleague, and an inspiration to myself and everyone involved in the club.

"From when I first started going to games in my teens, to working side by side with him when I joined the club, John was a massive presence and a wonderful club man."

He embodied everything that is good about our club and we are all utterly devastated at this news.

"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis. City ’til I die, and beyond.” 

Sports broadcaster Trevor Welsh described Mr Kennedy as the "heartbeat" of the club, and Cork TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said: "RIP John Kennedy. A true gent and stalwart City man. Enormous loss. Condolences to his family and all who knew and loved him."

A private family funeral will take place, in accordance with current guidelines.

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