25/01/24 | Obituaries

Liam O’Callaghan 25th February 1963 – 14th January 2024

Author: Lymm RFC


A chance conversation over a pint at Lymm RFC back in 1977 between Steve Fox (the then club captain and rugby teacher at Wilmslow Grammar School) and Peter Cornelia resulted in Liam becoming second in the all-time senior team appearance table, hardly missing a game from the age of 15 to 45!

Not only was this the start of a dynasty between Lymm RFC and the O’Callaghan family, it was also to have a profound influence on Liam’s life, love, friendships, and values for his entire life.  A fly half with a blistering turn of speed, particularly over the first 25 yards followed by a rapidly declining pace for the remaining 50 yards, saw Liam rely on a unique sidestep to create a gap. There was nothing he enjoyed more than to attack the opposition from anywhere on the pitch, often from behind his own goal line and accompanied by the screams of several of his teammates. He played the game with skill, panache and for the sheer joy and excitement he could create, even if that may result in just one sidestep to far and his family nick name of ‘one step too far O’Callaghan’! I have to say his courage in attack was not matched in defence as he regularly contested that tackling was not his job!  At age 16, Liam was selected for a final England Schools trial, and though not selected on this occasion, he went on to represent both Lancashire and Cheshire at various age groups, including Captaining the Cheshire under 21s.

Very early in his visits to the Club, Liam spotted a young 15 year old girl, Jaye Fraser Dackers (daughter of former club captain and fly half Alan!) and that was the start of a relationship that endured throughout his life as they married in 1988. Tom and Beth soon followed and before long both were regular attendees at the club with Tom playing in the M&Js and Beth a keen supporter of all events and who subsequently married former first team centre Adam Ferguson.

Liam was a devoted family man who loved nothing more than the company of his friends and family.  Lifelong friendships were forged that continued up until the present day as many of us enjoyed a Friday night pint together either before or after a game of golf or tennis, or just because it was a Friday!  The banter was always intense, and the friendship circle crossed generations.

Fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, Liam would never miss the opportunity to “tour”, especially if it involved a visit to Ireland and a couple of pints of the “black stuff”.  To celebrate his 40th, Jaye, family and friends organised a seven-a-side tournament, consisting of teams made up of all his friends and former teammates with Liam making a guest appearance in each side.  Not surprisingly he was on the winning side in the final and was voted as man of the match by all his mates.  At the after-party Don Brow and all his friends and family surprised Liam with a present which was to go on tour to Australia to watch the Rugby World Cup in 2003.  As you will recall, England won the cup that year despite Liam’s overwhelming support of Australia, whilst proudly wearing his Ireland shirt!

When Liam finally hung up his rugby boots, Lymm RFC’s loss became Lymm Tennis Club’s gain as he set about creating a Men’s social Monday night tennis group, still played to this day, the organisation of which he managed personally well after he had to stop playing the game due to his illness.  Liam took over the captaincy of a number of men’s and mixed teams in both the Warrington and Northeast Cheshire leagues and was for years a highly successful captain of the men’s 4th team.

More recently Liam became a member of Porthmadog Golf Club and his enthusiasm for sport and a get together prompted him to initiate an annual Ryder Cup style event; England v Rest of the World. He was delighted that on the last occasion his RoW team finally came out victorious.

Liam will be greatly missed by all his family especially his wife Jaye, son Tom and partner Elle, daughter Beth, son-in-law Adam and his adored grandchildren Freddie and Nel.  A fantastic player, great club man, a dear friend, devoted husband, father, grandfather and much loved son and brother who enjoyed the company of friends and family to the full.

Thank you Liam xx,



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