Rugby, Gaelic and music man Aidan O'Kane, originally from Drumquin, Tyrone and former President of Portadown Rugby Club, heralded for huge legacy of teaching and community spirit
Mr O’Kane, originally from Drumquin, Co Tyrone, died on Tuesday (August 22, 2023) after a short illness. His funeral was today (Friday) and there was a massive attendance at Requiem Mass in the Clare Chapel near his adopted home.
Aidan O’Kane was a huge community figure, involved in Rugby, Gaelic football, music and coaching. His undoubtable legacy is supported by the sincere outpouring of grief from those who he helped throughout his life.
When he died sadly on Tuesday, his family shared their grief: “Sad to share the news that our Dad Aidan passed away peacefully this morning after a short illness. Hard to know where to start talking about him but I know there’ll be plenty of stories and craic over the coming days.
"As a father, husband, father in law and Grandad, I don’t think they can come much better. Full of wise words and good deeds with a large measure of mischief thrown in, he made life long friends wherever he went. He taught Diarmaid and I that we could achieve anything we put our minds to. How to win, with grace and how to lose with dignity. He didn’t like losing much though as the hundreds of lads he coached at Rugby and Gaelic will confirm.
"He taught us the power of music and how it was a gift to share. A handful of songs and three chords will take you a long way in life, his trusty banjo started singsongs all over the world.
"We’ll all miss him terribly but know that wherever he is there’ll be no shortage craic and laughter. No doubt he will have a hell of a rugby side put together by the time the rest of us get there too. Rest well. See you on the other side Head.”
Portadown Rugby Football Club said: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Aidan O’Kane. Aidan was a friend of many at PRFC, coaching and playing for many years. A larger than life character, simply referred to as ‘Bear’. President of PRFC in 2000-01, Aidan was known by all at the club. In recent years Aidan was our Club Committee Rep at the Ulster Branch, well known and respected throughout the rugby community. Whether it was Minis, Youth or Senior, Aidan could always be seen on the sidelines. Always an encouraging and entertaining voice in the Clubhouse and will be deeply missed.
"As a club we send our sincere condolences to Geraldine, Ciaran, Diarmaid and O’Kane family. Coco and Dermy both having played and coached and Coco himself becoming president. A family firmly rooted in the growth of Portadown.”
One friend said: “Coached me when I was in the Under 16's. Lovely man. Full of knowledge and was more than willing to offer advise. He will be sadly missed. RIP Aidan.”
Another person who knew Aidan said: “Very sad news, a great PRFC clubman, always asking about family and how everyone was keeping, will be sadly missed, sincere condolences to all the family.”
Another close friend said: “A great friend and clubman, so sadly missed by all those who were lucky to know him. Rest easy Bear.”
And another person said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Aidan. A true gentleman, rugby man and wonderful character who always made you very welcome when you visited Portadown RFC. He visited Virginia RFC on many occasions and was known to tog out for our annual St. Stephen's match many years ago. Deepest sympathy to Geraldine and family. Rest easy Aidan. Dessie Higgins past president Virginia RFC.”
Lurgan Rugby Club said: “The Club Management and members were very saddened to learn of the passing of Aidan O’Kane from Portadown RFC. Aidan was a friend to many at Lurgan and will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Aidan’s family and everyone at Portadown RFC.”
Tír na nÓg GFC in Portadown said: “The committee and members of Tír na nÓg deeply regret the death of Aidan, father of our esteemed coach Diarmaid and grandfather of our player Cara. We tender our deepest sympathies to Diarmaid, Cara, wife Geraldine, son Ciarán and the wider O’Kane family. Mary Queen of the Gael, Pray for him.”
St. Michaels GAC Magheralin said: “The committee, members, and players of St Michael's GAC Magheralin deeply regret the death of Aidan O'Kane, father of our underage coach Ciaran and grandfather of our underage player Caolan. Ciaran and his family have got involved with the club over the past few years and have done great work helping out with the ever growing numbers at underage level. Mary Queen of the Gael pray for him.”
A social media group on Facebook, Drumquin Through The-Years, in Tyrone said: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the untimely passing of Aidan O’Kane. We, as a community extend our sympathies to Aidan’s wife, Geraldine, Sons Ciarán (Sinead) and Diarmaid (Karen), Grandchildren, Odhrán, Cara, Caolan, Caden and Ethan. Brothers Séamas, Sean and Declan as well as the extended O’Kane family circle.
Aidan O’Kane is wife of Geraldine and devoted Dad of Ciarán (Sinead) and Diarmaid (Karen), doting Grandad of Odhrán, Cara, Caolan, Caden and Ethan and dear brother of Séamas, Sean and Declan. Aidan is predeceased by his parents Johnny and Tess and his sister Sheila Gallagher and brother Brendan RIP.
Requiem Mass was held at St. Colmans Church, Clare Road, Waringstown with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.
His passing is deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife, sons, grandchildren, brothers, daughters in law, brothers and sisters in law, nieces, nephews and many friends.