Westmeath’s first ever All-Star Rory O’Connell is auctioning the jersey (signed by the 2001 All-Star team ) on ebay from August 18-28 to raise money for South Westmeath Hospice. All-Star jerseys are a rare commodity especially in these parts so there is sure to be huge interest in the former midfielder’s shirt.
The auction is part of a series of fundraisers being organised in memory of Rory’s mother Kay and fellow Athlone GAA stalwart Davy Allen, both of whom sadly passed away in recent months from brain tumours.
Kay was present at every Westmeath and Athlone game that I can remember and was a tireless worker behind the scenes for Athlone GAA as well as being a major driving force behind the Community Games in Westmeath. How proud she would be of all of the young athletes representing Westmeath in the national finals in Athlone this weekend.
Davy is a member of a family steeped in Athlone GAA and after a long playing career with the ‘blue’ he threw himself into promoting underage football in the club. It is not by accident that Athlone now boast one of the best underage set-ups in the county.
The loss of these two characters from a similar diagnosis has left a huge void in Athlone GAA and more especially in their respective families. Both were selfless in their time and energy for the betterment of others. It is not surprising then that members of both families decided to honour their memories with a number of fundraisers.
Rory, along with former Westmeath great Paul Conway, former Athlone number one Richie Daly, and others have embarked on a 500 mile sponsored cycle from Athlone/Limerick/Cork/Kilkenny/Athlone. They are due back into Athlone this afternoon (Friday ) where they are expected to be accompanied through the town by a large group of friends and family.
A special bank account has been opened in the permanent tsb in Athlone - Davy and Kay Memorial Fund. Account number 20925727- sort code 990718. The GAA family in Westmeath and indeed the wider community are encouraged to support this effort to remember two great people and support three very worthy charities.