Up to 8,000 turn out for Mick fundraiser

MICK O’CONNELL got a massive boost in his bid to come to grips with the serious injury sustained while playing rugby when thousands turned out for a charity walk/fun run yesterday.

The event, which is expected to raise in the region of half a million euro, took place the day after his club, Dolphin RFC, put the finishing touches to their centenary celebrations by winning the AIB League Division Two title.

Within hours of winning the title the captain, Dave Pomeroy, was at the National Rehabilitation Clinic in Dun Laoghaire with the cup and the medal to be presented to Mick as a member of the squad.

A number of the Irish and Munster teams as well as a number of former greats including Donal Lenihan and the legendary Tom Kiernan, were included in an estimated turnout in excess of 8,000 that turned up at Musgrave Park to take part in the fundraising event.

“It was a very special event for a very special person. Since his injury I have been in close contact with Mick and he is just inspirational,” said Paul Mitchell.

“I am not the only one to recognise this. At the National Rehabilitation Clinic he has been singled out as a leader. His redoubtable spirit will see him through.”

Peter Stringer said, he has also been in close contact with Mick since his injury. “I have been speaking to him regularly on the telephone and he has a remarkable attitude,” he said.

“He has the ability to deal with the situation in which he finds himself. He is a man with a future. He has an unbelievable attitude and is an inspiration to us all,” he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by Ronan O’Gara who, like Peter Stringer, delayed his trip to join the Irish squad for training.

“The turn out here today was overwhelming. It was just unbelievable. I know Mick will come through this on the right side. He is a remarkable man with a remarkable attitude and we are all behind him,” he said.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley , who sent the masses on their way, said he was looking forward to meeting Mick.

“From everything I have heard he is a remarkable person and I am looking forward to meeting him. The good news I have heard is that he is responding to treatment,” he said.

The last of the participants was still passing through the starting line when Kieran O’Sullivan, a garda from Douglas, Cork crossed the finish line.

In fact it took all of 17 minutes to get everyone out of Musgrave Park.

Athletes from a variety of disciplines crossed the sporting divide to join friends, colleagues and fans and they included stars like the former Olympian and a current international, Noel Berkeley.

"The Irish Examiner has been really outstanding in its support. Chief executive, Tom Murphy, jumped on board immediately and thanks to him, Mairead Maher and the other members of the staff, it became the most talked of event in the country.

“It is the biggest event of its kind after the Dublin Marathon,” said Paul Mitchell.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox