Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool FC pay tribute to tragic Irish fan

By Ralph Riegel

Premier League giants Liverpool are to contact an Irish family to express their deepest sympathies over the sudden death of their football-obsessed teenage son.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is to write a personal letter of condolence to the family of Graham O'Connell (14), in Cork, who will today bury the teen who collapsed and died while playing football near his home with friends.

The Anfield club have also confirmed they will post special condolences to the family on the club's Twitter feed -- a service Graham used daily to keep up to date with developments at his favourite club.

"We are aware of the efforts being made by Graham's friends and family to honour his memory," a Liverpool spokesperson said.

"If Graham's family wanted to come to Anfield they would of course be welcomed and we would look after them. We are in the process of obtaining contact details for the family and Brendan will be writing to them in due course. Our condolences go out to them at such a sad time."

Graham -- who had previously been treated for a heart complaint in Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin -- died on Monday evening.

He could not be revived following his collapse during a casual kickabout on a green near his Mayfield home.

Graham's family and friends have asked the giant English club to remember him at their Europa Cup clash against Hearts at Anfield tonight.

Graham -- who idolised the Anfield club -- had been eagerly counting down the days to the start of the new season and convinced his friends that new manager Rodgers would revive the fortunes of the Merseyside giants.

"He was the biggest Red in Cork -- he absolutely loved Liverpool," one friend said.

Graham's parents, David and Jackie, are "absolutely devastated" by the tragedy.

They were too upset to comment yesterday at their Mayfield home, with hundreds of family, friends and neighbours later attending Graham's removal to Our Lady Crowned Church.

A family member said that they had been overwhelmed by messages of sympathy and support.

"Everyone is in shock -- we're just too upset to say anything. We just cannot believe it," she said.

Graham -- from The Steeples in Mayfield -- was just metres from his home when he collapsed without warning on Monday.

Graham was removed last night from O'Connor's funeral home at Coburg Street to Our Lady Crowned Church in Mayfield. His coffin will be adorned today by his favourite Liverpool jersey and he will be buried after 12 noon requiem Mass at Kilcully Cemetery.

Belfast Telegraph

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