A shocked community quietly mourns former Roscommon GAA star Conor Connelly

Emotional tributes have been paid to the former Roscommon footballer Conor Connelly, who died suddenly at the weekend while out jogging. Stunned colleagues and friends within the GAA and throughout the wider community have extended sympathies to his wife Claire and their three young children.

The sudden passing of Conor Connelly (formerly of Creggs) near his home in Moorock, Ballycumber, Co. Offaly, occurred on Saturday last, 28th of March. He was just 44 years of age.

Roscommon flags have been flown outside many houses and GAA grounds in Creggs, Roscommon and adjoining areas in a show of community sympathy and solidarity at this very difficult time.

A proud and devoted family man, Conor Connelly was a solicitor by profession. He was a highly accomplished sportsman, most notably during his time as a very influential member of the Roscommon senior football team, with whom he memorably won a Connacht title in 2001. He also played with distinction for Roscommon at minor and U-21 level.

Roscommon County Board led the tributes. Board chairperson Seamus Sweeney said that Roscommon people everywhere are very saddened at the news of his untimely death.

“I always admired Conor as a footballer…he was a fine tenacious player who gave his all when wearing the primrose and blue.

“I extend my sympathy and the sympathy of Roscommon GAA to Conor’s wife Claire, their three young children, and to Conor’s parents, Jimmy and Nora” Mr. Sweeney said.

Fergal O’Donnell, captain of the Roscommon team which won the 2001 Connacht Championship, described Conor Connelly as a “clever, smart player”, while John Tobin, manager of the 2001 team, said he was “a leader in a team of leaders”.

Conor Connelly was an outstanding Gaelic footballer. He won a Leinster Colleges’ title with St. Mel’s (Longford) in 1994. Playing his club football with Creggs, he graduated to the Roscommon senior team, starring during the 2001 Connacht title winning campaign. When the Connelly family moved to Ballinlough, Conor joined Michael Glavey’s.

Later, when studying to become a barrister, he played with St. Jude’s in Dublin. In more recent years, when living in Co. Offaly, he played for Ballycumber, where he also made a major contribution as a club officer and in a coaching capacity.

In a statement on behalf of Creggs GAA, Club Chairperson Sean Brandon said: “It is with heartfelt sadness that we learned our friend and clubmate Conor Connelly passed away. We are deeply shocked and saddened in Creggs GAA Club and the wider community at the sudden death of our good friend and former Creggs and Roscommon star.

“Conor was an exceptionally talented and dedicated footballer and all-round sportsman and it was no surprise that he went on to achieve great success with the Roscommon senior team, while representing Connacht in the Railway Cup.

“Conor didn’t forget his roots and Creggs GAA will never forget the outstanding contribution he made to the club. May he rest in peace”.

Creggs GAA extended sympathies to Conor’s wife Claire, their three young children and to the Connelly and Quinn families.

Conor Connelly is mourned by his wife Claire, children Caragh, Rossa and Owen, his parents Jimmy and Nora, brothers Robert, James and Darragh, sister Sharon, their wives and partners, his parents-in-law Stephen and Aggie, brothers-in-law Colm and Stevie, sisters-in-law Magali and Amy, nieces and nephews and a wide circle of friends.

Due to the current government restrictions in relation to Covid-19, the funeral is family only. His family said that a special remembrance and “celebration of Conor’s packed full and joyful life” will be held “as soon as it is safe to do so”.