By Damian Dolan
Siobhan McCann’s memory will live on in London GAA for “years to come” thanks to a new cup presented to the winners of the ladies’ junior football championship.
Siobhan, who played for Dulwich Harps, passed away in 2019 from cancer. She was just 26.
Tara became the first recipients of The Siobhan McCann Memorial Cup after beating Dulwich in last Saturday’s final by 4-5 to 2-5 at McGovern Park, Ruislip.
“I’m so happy to be able to say that Siobhan’s memory will live on in London GAA for years to come,” said Dulwich Harps goalkeeper Tara Kilcoyne.
Addressing both teams and supporters on the Ruislip pitch after the game, Kilcoyne described it as a “bitter-sweet” day for the team, to see the new cup introduced but not to be able to bring it back to Dulwich.
“It’s a big disappointment for a lot of us who had the privilege of playing with Siobhan,” she said. “On behalf of Siobhan’s family, I’d like to congratulate Tara.”
Siobhan’s family weren’t able to make the game, as they are expecting a new baby and had their own finals with her hometown club, St John’s.
Accepting the cup, Tara captain Linda Corcoran assured Dulwich that it would be treated with the “respect it deserves”.
The cup was donated by the Denning family, who have strong connections to Dulwich Harps. Tom Denning is the club’s chairperson.
From Clanvaraghan in Co Down, Siobhan was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in April, 2018.
She completed 25 sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in readiness for surgery to remove a tumour.
However, in July she received the devastating news that the cancer had spread and that surgery was no longer an option.
In-between, she somehow found the strength and courage to tog out for Dulwich in the junior championship final at Ruislip in June.
A fundraising drive, ‘Siobhan’s Toughest Opponent’, was launched to fund a life-prolonging drug.
Her brave fight against Cancer brought together London’s GAA community – she was also physiotherapist for Fulham Irish GAA team – and the city’s Irish community at large.
News of her passing at her home in Clanvaraghan, Co Down, on 6 May 2019 triggered an overwhelming number of heart-felt tributes on social media.
Siobhan was laid to rest at a packed St Mary of the Angels Church in Castlewellan.
Her story captured peoples’ hearts, and her bravery and dignity touched everyone who met her.
See this week’s Irish World for full coverage of the junior championship final between Tara and Dulwich Harps.