John Cunningham, class '75
As usual the talk of the SCT prospects for the coming year began in late March. The automatic choice for full back on everyone's list was John Cunningham who had held this position on the JCT two years earlier. It came somewhat as a shock to us all, when it was discovered that Johnny had a weak heart and that the doctors had ruled out all games and activities.
After the initial shock our eyes turned to see how he was taking it. On the surface he was his old cheerful self, ready to join in any form of fun, but quietly to a few friends he confided how anxious and worried he was. He had a long summer of total rest in front of him. and the manner in which he accepted it impressed all who visited him. He never complained, took a lively interest in the activities of others, and was always grateful for a visit, no matter how short it was.
He returned to the College in late September 1974 and, under doctors orders, he had to use a wheel-chair where possible. He had no shortage of able-bodied men to help him around and the many excursions the wheelchair made up and down to the village was proof enough of how popular he was. He was always game for a practical joke and many a miracle was worked as he slowly got up and walked a few tentative steps. By late November, his progress was so good that the doctors discarded the chair and he tried to live a normal life. Although he tired easily, he always kept up face and never wanted to be treated as an invalid. When one turned to help him or ask how he was, his immediate reply was "forget it". To ignore his sickness was for him the best thing to do. It was this same philosophy that governed his summer vacation, a holiday he spent in Kerry with quite a large number of his year and one that he considered his best.
At his studies. Johnny had average ability, but he did not allow his sickness to interfere with his work. At times he could have used it as a cover for lack of effort, but this was not his style. He continued on as if nothing was the matter, interested in his Leaving Certificate and his future career. Last September he entered the First Year Business Course at the College of Commerce, Rathmines. and by all accounts had endeared himself to all the staff and fellow students just as he had done in 'Knock.
His last visit to the College was on Union Night where, like any true "Knock man, he recalled endless stories with the members of his own year. Our recollection of him that night is that he spoke of anything and everything but himself. Little did we think that he was living out the last month of his life. Three weeks later, on November 20th. God called him to his eternal home. Johnny had lived his life to the full, he had shared five years of it with us at Castleknock where he will always be remembered for his courage and cheerful disposition, particularly during his final two years.
To his father, mother and to his brother, Peter (1968-73), the Community and Staff of Castleknock offer their deepest sympathy.
Requiescat in Pace.