By Damian Dolan
A fundraising drive to help a former London and Kingdom Kerry Gaels (KKG) Gaelic footballer, who lost his leg in a work-related accident, has raised nearly €20,000.
Seamus O’Brien, 49, suffered the injury while working on a construction site in Co Cork in February 2018. His left leg was amputated in November after he suffered “constant pain” after undergoing seven operations.
Since his accident, the self-employed carpenter who is a father of four teenagers has been unable to work.
That’s left his wife Ruth, a nurse, as the family’s only wage-earner, and placed an additional stress on their finances.
In a bid to help, KKG has teamed up with another of Seamus’ former clubs – Meath’s Seneschalstown – to raise €200,000 to pay for three prosthetic legs, to enable Seamus to walk again.
Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and adjustments to the family’s house will incur even further costs, however. KKG are appealing to the wider GAA community to respond urgently.
As of 6 January, a GoFundMe page set up by Kingdom Kerry Gaels’ Over 35s and Sevens teams had raised €19,624 towards its €60,000 target.
The GoFundMe page reads: “Seamus dedicated himself to the game and we would like to call on your generosity to help our teammate in his time of need.
“We have no doubt, if the shoe was on the other foot, he would be the first man to offer help.”
Seamus told the Irish Independent: “I’ve played football all my life, in Kerry, Meath, London and America and made so many friends in the GAA. As a family, we are so humbled now with their kindness.”
Arriving in London in January 1991 from Fires in Co. Kerry, Seamus played with the Kingdom before the club joined forces with Kerry Gaels.
While in London, he worked in construction with TC Costelloe, Byrne Brothers and PC Harrington.
He returned to Ireland in March 2000 with his then girlfriend Ruth, but continued to play for the club that year and helped it reach the senior football championship final.
Seamus was man of the match in the Kingdom’s one-point SFC semi-final win over St Clarets, scoring 0-2 from midfield.
He also played for London at senior, junior and Under 21 levels – including at all three grades in the same year.
Seamus lined out for against Sligo in the 1998 Connacht Championship, and the following year when the Exiles put it up to reigning All Ireland champions Galway.
In 1991, he played for London juniors in the All-Ireland Junior final against his native Kerry.
He and his now wife Ruth, initially settled in Navan in Co. Meath, with Seamus becoming involved with Seneschalstown, before returning to Fires.
However, in 2016 and 2017 he once again joined up with his former KKG teammates to take part in the annual Tommy Griffin tournament in Dingle.
He also won a North American championship with Chicago club St. Brendans, and played in the New York Junior Championship with the Westmeath club.
To donate to the Kingdom Kerry Gaels GoFundMe page go to: