TEAMMATES of tragic hurler Niall Donohue have received counselling in the wake of his sudden death.
A counsellor has met members of the Kilbeacanty club for the past two nights as they mourned the death of the hurler who would have turned 23 yesterday. Pat Kearney, Galway hurling board secretary, said Kilbeacanty manager Niall Gillane had arranged the support for the players.
"Everyone is still in shock at Niall's death. All the club players are being given support and we would urge anyone who is struggling to speak to a friend or teammate," he added.
The remains of the hurler will be brought to his beloved Kilbeacanty GAA club before his funeral Mass tomorrow.
In a tribute to their team-mate, members of the Galway senior panel will walk with the coffin from the grounds to Kilbeacanty church for the funeral Mass. A guard of honour will also be formed at the church by a number of under-age hurling teams from the area.
Mr Donohue's brother Shane arrived home from Australia yesterday, where he had an emotional reunion with his father Francis and sister Orla. His brother's remains will be waked at the family home tonight before being brought on his final journey tomorrow.
Yesterday legendary GAA commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh was amongst those to pay their respects at the Donohue family yesterday.
The commentator paid his respects at the home of Niall’s grieving father in Kilbeacanty close to Gort.
As friends and colleagues struggled with news of his sudden death, John Hynes of the Galway hurling board urged anyone overwhelmed by the tragedy to talk.
"It's important that people realise that it is okay not to be okay about this, but it's very important that we talk about it and speak to somebody and seek advice if necessary and seek solace from your friends and colleagues," he said.
"He was hugely popular in Kilbeacanty and he was their hero," he added.
A tribute Facebook page received the support of close to 100,000 people in two days, while a book of condolences was opened yesterday in McCarthy's Lounge, Kilbeacanty.
A touching tribute to Niall on the Kilbeacanty Old and New Facebook page told of the community's shock.
"As we wake this morning we hoped that it was just a bad dream, a nightmare, that it isn't true, it couldn't be true."
By Caroline Crawford