Well known and very popular Limerick & Munster rugby fan, John Flanagan, collapsed and died in Paris at the weekend shortly before the the France v Ireland 6 Nations international was called off.
The 60 years old, understood to be close friends of several of the Munster rugby stars and their families (inc the O’Connells and O’Callaghans) had in fact taken his wife Irene to Paris as an early St Valentine’s Day treat before his untimely death at the Stade de France.
The ‘Irish Examiner’ reports that Mr Flanagan, who worked with Limerick City Council, had recently been ill and had just returned to work.
It emerged last night that Irene had a request for Perry Como’s “And I love You So” played on Limerick’s Live 95FM Sounds Easy show for John before they left for Paris.
Programme presenter Len Dinneen told ‘The Examiner’ that : “Irene rang me to play a request for John as they were going to Paris for the match and planned to celebrate St Valentine’s Day there.
“I knew John well and he and Irene were probably the staunchest Munster fans. They travelled to all the games, home and away, and became great friends with many of the Munster players’ parents, such as Michael and Sheila O’Connell and Donnacha O’Callaghan’s mum, Marie.
“They were a fixture at all Munster games and became one of the regulars on the away visits. I don’t think they missed a match in the last 10 years. I was very saddened to hear of John’s death, and having played the Perry Como song requested by Irene on my programme to mark their visit to Paris makes it all the more poignant.”
The Irish Embassy in Paris is believed to be assisting the Flanagan family in making arrangements to bring his remains back to Limerick.
A colleague at Limerick City Council added : “We are all devastated at the news of John’s sudden death. He and Irene loved going to the rugby games. And the family have told us the IRFU were fantastic when learning of John’s death in giving Irene all the support they could in Paris.”