One of the most talented footballers this club has ever seen passed away on April 2nd. RIP Graham Parkinson.
By Jamie Moore
Graham had been battling cancer for the last seven years, despite lots of treatment and trips to see specialists in Germany, he had been very sick over the last while.
He passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning (2nd April)
He signed for Belvo at U12 as a central midfield player, and was known around the league as one of the toughest and most talented players around. His skill and ability on the ball were second to none, and despite being quite small for his age, he never lost a tackle.
He won the U14 Premier title with Belvo, and won an historic treble after returning from his illness in 2009 to win to DDSL U17 League, the U17 PFAI Cup and the U17 FAI Cup in the 2009/10 season.
The club held a 5 a side fundraiser to help with his treatment last year, and Belvedere's Martin Cooke has been in regular contact with Graham and his parents, Elaine and Darren, over the last while.
Martin spoke about Graham on the morning of his passing.
"All through his battle with cancer, he showed similar characteristics to how he played on the pitch, he fought it right up until the end and did everything possible to get better."
"I had been up to visit him and his family on a number of occasions and he was very dignified throughout even though he was quite sick. He was very thankful for all of the support from everyone as you would have expected from someone with like Graham."
Martin recalls the U17 FAI Cup final at Turners Cross in Cork, when Belvo beat Carrigaline United on penalties. Graham scored the winner.
"He had been getting a lot of stick from a big Cork crowd for the whole game, and it was Graham who stepped up to take the last peno. If he scored Belvo won. When we was walking up to the peno spot from the halfway line, there was a lot of screaming and shouting trying to put him off. But of course he scored and then gave the crowd a little wave before he celebrated with his team-mates. That sums him up perfectly. And his last touch for the club was the win that All Ireland title."
"On behalf of the everyone at Belvedere Football Club, I would like to pass on our sympathies and condolences to him mum Elaine, dad Darren, his girlfriend Ciara, and all of his friends and family."
One of his former managers, Anto Corcoran, also remembers Graham.
"We played Rangers in a friendly. We lost the game but Graham was the best player on the pitch, one of the Rangers academy lads came over and said he would be looking out for him in the future and used the words 'what a talent' to describe him. He was a wise man!"
His former manager, Derek O'Brien, is in America and could not get home in time to make today. He asked us to post this on his behalf ''Belvo produce many outstanding footballers who go on to play at the top levels, your illness deprived you of doing the same, I've no doubt you would have been at the top. God bless you and your family, rest in peace the gaffer, DOB.''
Former team-mate Adam O'Brien now lives in Australia, he played with Graham from the start and posted this tribute on Facebook. Facebook and Twitter are full of posts about Graham, showing just how many people he touched over his life.
"Very very sad day today, an absolute inspiration to anybody walking this planet, an idol for anyone in the area to look up too, a warrior on and off the pitch there's just not enough good things that can be said about you.. You'll be sadly missed by everyone, I'm just happy to be able to say you were a friend of mine and was lucky to be on a football pitch with you for many of years, your out of pain now bud, look after your family and friends at this tough time, RIP Graham Parkinson my thoughts and prayers is with your girlfriend and family."
Thanks for the memories Graham. You will always be a Belvo Boy. Here is a video montage we made for Graham. It has had over 18,000 views. Click this link to watch http://vimeo.com/90847843
The Irish Independent also did of piece on Graham. You can read it here http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/you-didnt-need-to-know-graham-to-admire-him-30161236.html
His funeral took place on Saturday April 5th with thousands in attendance, standing room only, just like it would have been to see him play football.