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  • Northside East

Football has lost its greatest supporter

Tuesday, 28th August, 2018 1:29pm

Story by Tony McCullagh
Football has lost its greatest supporter

John Terry posted this photo of Oran Tully on his Instagram page.

Football has lost its greatest supporter

John Terry posted this photo of Oran Tully on his Instagram page.

To describe the late Oran Tully as Ireland’s greatest football fan would probably be something of an understatement.

News of the 19-year-old’s passing over the weekend was met with an outpouring of grief on both sides of the Irish Sea. The Skerries native, who had battled a rare medical condition all his life, was a real inspiration to everyone around him.

As a player and coach with Skerries Town FC, Oran was a source of endless encouragement to the young soccer players coming up through the club’s academy. In spite of his illness, he oozed positivity and his infectious enthusiasm for football was a joy to behold.

A familiar face at League of Ireland games, he divided his love of football between Bohs, Skerries Town, the Republic of Ireland and – perhaps most famously of all – Chelsea FC. In 2013, he featured in a Sky Sports programme, ‘My Special Day’, where he got to meet his heroes at Stamford Bridge.

Football legend John Terry showed genuine decency and generosity to Oran in those moving television scenes. The Skerries teen also managed the impossible by extracting a smile (and photo-op) from then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and even grabbed a few words with the normally camera-shy club owner, Roman Abramovich.

In an Instagram post today, John Terry paid tribute to Oran.

“Absolutely devastated to hear the terribly sad news that my little mate Oran Tully has passed away,” he wrote. “Oran loved Chelsea Football Club and knew everything about every Chelsea player past and present. RIP mate. My condolences, love and thoughts are with the Tully family.”

Many warm tributes have been paid to Oran since his tragic passing. Our thoughts and sympathies lie first and foremost with his family and friends. Those of us who only knew him casually can only imagine the magnitude of their loss.

It was impossible not to be affected in a positive way when you came into contact with Oran. He will be remembered as one of life’s true gentlemen and the epitome of everything that is good about sport.
May he rest in peace.

You can watch Sky Sports footage of Oran's visit to Stamford Bridge here.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here