Jason Connolly Memorial Cup brings friends, teammates, family and supporters together in memory

The footballing community united last weekend for the Jason Connolly Memorial Cup at Lilys Football Centre.

The former National Soccer League forward died of heart failure at 46 following a Nepean Cup match for the St Marys Band Club in April.

Friends, family and members of the soccer community came together for the day with an over-30s five-a-side tournament with the funds raised going to Connolly’s children.

St Marys Band Club Rangers Football Club president Chris Williams said it was an overwhelming reception from the community.

“It’s been a fantastic day, a brilliant turnout,” he said.

“From scratch, there were people here left, right and centre, it was just a consistent flow through the gates. It’s been a fantastic turnout and support by everyone.”

Playing at Lilys was special with Connolly starting his career with Blacktown City at the ground as a 16-year-old. 

The day was an instant hit with players with 20 teams made up of Connolly’s friends and team-mates battling it out for the inaugural title. Three teams were even turned away. 

Backyard United that ended up with the victory on the day, winning the trophy, which was made up of Connolly’s left boot that he wore in his final game.

Backyard United player Adam Anderson said Connolly was a “really good bloke and he had time for everybody”.

“I first met JC when I was playing against him and then a few years later we ended up playing together at Penrith in 2004 and from there on in, you stick together as teammates,” he said.

“All these players came from far and wide for one person. He touched a lot of people within his team and outside his team.

“When you get a little bit older and you’ve got no legs, a win’s a win and it even makes it better that we won today for JC.”

It was an emotional day with Connolly’s children Chloe, 16, and Cooper, 12, presenting Backyard United with the winners trophy.

Connolly’s cousin Frank Seni said the success of the day exceeded his expectations.

“It’s very emotional to see everyone here but it was just the kind of guy he was,” Mr Seni said. 

“He was just a nice guy and this just proves what a nice guy he was. It’s very touching.”

“To have it here is very fitting and a lot of his old teammates are here as well so it’s been really good.”

Mr Williams also highlighted the work of Chris Minol in making the day what it was.

“There have been a core group of friends but Chris has gone above and beyond,” he said. “There has been a lot of build up and a lot of work put into it but it’s been worth every minute.”