Remembering Irish Times journalist Carl O'Malley: "I wish I'd known him better"
I wish I'd known Carl O'Malley better.
We started college on the same day in September 1997, a journalism degree in Griffith College in a class of 25 people.
By the time I realised that Carl may have shared my 18-year-old sense of awkwardness about the world, cliques had been formed and he settled on the other side of the class divide.
We were two factions. The ten of us - slightly off kilter, drunk and inexperienced. The ten of them - well put together, confident, good people but (we thought) better at the college experience. They did the bold things that we could only snigger about.
Of their group, though, Carl was always the one we felt we'd lost to them. One of us masquerading as one of theirs.
After college, we'd run into each other every now and again. Carl worked for the Irish Times and I was with Setanta at the time. We'd take a few moments, chat about Liverpool, a few words about where we were in life.
He asked questions, the sign of any great man, as he was far more curious to know how you were doing than talking about himself. I never had the fortune to meet his wife Moira but I remember bumping into Carl on Tara Street shortly after the birth of Charlie, his first child.
He beamed the same smile that had levelled the girls in college; told me Charlie was great, love in his eyes, then politely moved the focus back to me.
The last time I saw Carl was in 2012.
I'd gone for a job in The Irish Times and he suggested a coffee in McCabe's on Tara Street. He wanted me to work there, said he'd followed the work I'd been doing and hoped that we'd soon be colleagues. It didn't happen, nor did we sit over the pints we said we'd share in Bowe's, but we kept in touch in those small ways that people do nowadays.
That was Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace, when the title truly slipped, a small piece of empathy between two then 35-year-olds who knew it was a long way back to 1990.
And that was it. There never came that pint in Bowe's, instead a phone call on Friday morning to say that Carl was no longer with us.
I just... I wish I'd known him better, that's all. This wonderful father, husband, writer, friend. He was one of us and I won't forget him as long as I go on. Nobody who knew him will. He'll never walk alone.
Carl, rest in peace.
Everyone at Maximum Media would like to extend their sympathies to Moira, Carl's wife, their three children Charlie, Arwen and baby Leo, Carl's mam and dad Dr Carl and Dr Katherine, brother John and sister Katherine, grandmother Cassie and extended family and friends.
Main image: Irish Times