Tributes are being paid today to four-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny, four-time All-Star winner and a former Texaco Hurler of the Year, the great Liam ‘Chunky’ O’Brien who died on Monday following an illness.
On of the famed Kilkenny crew of the 70s, O’Brien served at midfield, dominating with Frank Cummins, and later at half-forward alongside the likes of current Kilkenny manager Brian Cody, Fan Larkin, Mick Crotty, Joe Hennessy and more household hurling names in Kilkenny.
“What a man, what a hurler, what memories we have of him over the years”, said Liam Tyrrell is President of James Stephens in speaking to KCLR on Tuesday.
“Especially during the seventies, when he was at his peak, fantastic. A gentleman out and out and he will always be remembered by everyone in our club and I’m sure by all the GAA people all over Ireland”.
In early 2017 we accompanied O’Brien and the newly retired Jackie Tyrrell for a Kilkenny GAA event in London, here’s a snippet from the night.
1979 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final
If you want to see Chunky in action for yourself, here’s the 1979 All-Ireland senior hurling championship final with O’Brien starting at left-half forward. The Cats would beat Kilkenny 2-12 to 1-08 in front of almost 54,000 fans in Croke Park with Chunky bagging 1-7 in the process before collecting his fourth All-Ireland medal.
Kilkenny GAA described O’Brien on Tuesday as “an immense hurler”, his All-Ireland accolades furthered by seven Leinster titles in the black and amber. The midfield great also collected two Leinster and All-Ireland club hurling titles with James Stephens along with four Kilkenny senior hurling titles.
You can hear more on air on The Way It Is from 4pm this afternoon.
His funeral mass will take place on Thursday 26 August at 11am in St. Patrick’s Church, Kilkenny, with interment afterwards in Foulkstown Cemetary. Mass can be viewed online at stpatricksparishkilkenny.com.
See funeral details here.