Saturday 27 December 2014

Farewell Niall Donohue: A thousand descend on Galway for hurler's funeral

Published 27/10/2013 | 12:29

Galway inter county players carry the coffin of their teammate, Niall Donoghue at his funeral at St Columba's Church in Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway.
Galway inter county players carry the coffin of their teammate, Niall Donoghue at his funeral at St Columba's Church in Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway.
Galway inter county player Joe Canning, pictured at the funeral of his teammate, Niall Donoghue at his funeral at St Columba's Church in Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway.
Galway manager, Anthony Cunningham, at the funeral of Niall Donoghue at St Columba's Churchin Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway.
Galway inter county players carry the coffin of their teammate, Niall Donoghue at his funeral at St Columba's Church in Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Irish Independent 27/10/2013
Galway inter county players carry the coffin of their teammate, Niall Donoghue at his funeral at St Columba's Church in Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Irish Independent 27/10/2013
Galway inter county players carry the coffin of their teammate, Niall Donoghue at his funeral at St Columba's Churchin Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Irish Independent 27/10/2013
Kilbeacanty Community GAA Field, Co. Galway closed as a mark of respect of the sudden death of Galway hurler Niall Donohue. Picture: Hany Marzouk
Niall Donohue playing for Galway in the Under-21 All-Ireland 'A' Championship Final
Players stand for a minute's silence in memory of Niall at the Dublin County Senior Club Hurling Championship semi-final between Ballyboden St Enda's and St Brigid's.
Niall Donohue in the All-Ireland semi-final last year against Cork
Kilbeacanty Community GAA Field, Co. Galway closed as a mark of respect of the sudden death of Galway hurler Niall Donohue. Picture: Hany Marzouk

A THOUSAND mourners from the world of GAA gathered in the tiny village of Kilbeacanty today to bid farewell to tragic hurler Niall Donohue.

His father Francis, brother Shane and sister Orla were comforted by family as they made their way into St Columba's Church in their hometown.

The small church was packed to capacity with two marquees set up outside to accommodate the additional mourners who travelled from across the country to pay their respects.

As the coffin made it's way to Kilbeacanty Church it made one final stop at Niall's beloved local GAA pitch where members of the Galway Senior panel formed a guard of honour. They then accompanied their former teammate to the Church, carrying his coffin into the Church. There members of local under age club Michael Cusacks formed a guard of honour with members of the county team and local Kilbeacanty team leading the coffin into the Church.

The 22-year-old was found dead at his home on Wednesday night. He would have celebrated his 23rd birthday last Friday.

For the past two days, hurling stars had called to the Donohue family home where Niall's remains were waked. Renowned Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody paid his respects yesterday as did retired Cork hurler Tomas Mulcahy. Niall's teammates from the Galway senior panel were joined by his second cousin Clare hurler Shane O'Donnell at the family home.

President of the GAA Liam O'Neill and legendary GAA commentator Micheal O'Muircheartaigh called to the family home on Friday night.  A number of Chairmen from the GAA heirarchy around the country also called to the Donohue family home including Ned Quinn of the Kilkenny County Board, Leinster Council Chairman Martin Skelly and Frank Burke, Chairman of the Connacht Council. Noel Treacy, Chairman of the Galway County Board and Galway manager Anthony Cunningham also called to the home.

The remains of the popular young hurler were brought home on Friday evening where the family, his father Francis, brother Shane and sister Orla held a private vigil with relatives. From 3pm yesterday, friends, colleagues, teammates and hurling fans made their way to the family home in Ballyturn outside Kilbeacanty to sympathise with the family and pay their respects.

The family home was private this morning before the funeral giving the family time to grieve privately.

As a mark of respect for Niall, the Galway SHC final between Loughrea and Portumna which had been due to take place today has been rescheduled to tomorrow.

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