Mr O’Connell (57) was widely known through his involvement with Charleville and Munster rugby and his love of Cork hurling and football teams.
Rugby was his great passion, however, and he made his debut for Charleville at the of 15. He went on to play many more seasons for the club and served on the club committee in many guises over the last 42 years.
He was due to lead the club as president this season until his untimely death on Monday night.
Mr O’Connell was instrumental in setting up the Munster Rugby Supporters Club, an organisation that has grown hugely over the last decade. He supported the province throughout Britain and Europe, whilst also taking delight in an unique record of having attended virtually every home Ireland game in the last 40 years.
The Munster Branch of the IRFU yesterday posted the following message on the Supporters Club website: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of one of the driving forces and founding members of the Munster Rugby Supporters Club. Declan O’Connell presided as chairman of the Supporters Club in its early days, stepping down in the 2004-2005 season. Declan was always vocal in his support of Munster and indeed in support of the Supporters Club and it is due to his efforts in the early years, when numbers were low, that the club flourished.
“There will be an empty space in Musgrave Park and Thomond Park this year; one that Declan filled joyfully for many years. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Declan’s family and friends.”
Mr O’Connell is survived by his wife Renee (Dillon), sons Patrick, David and Kieran, daughter Lisa, brothers Pat and Anthony and sister Joan.
Removal takes place from his home on Smith Road, Charleville tonight at 8.30 to Holy Cross Church. Funeral Mass tomorrow at 2pm before a private cremation.