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Sunday 31 August 2014

Former Dubs skipper speaks with searing honesty at father's funeral mass

Published 17/02/2014 | 16:06

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17/02/2014 The remains of Cathal Sweeney leave the Church of St. Paul of the Cross during his funeral mass at Mount Argus, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
The remains of Cathal Sweeney leave the Church of St. Paul of the Cross during his funeral mass at Mount Argus, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
17/02/2014 The remains of Cathal Sweeney leave the Church of St. Paul of the Cross during his funeral mass at Mount Argus, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
The remains of Cathal Sweeney leave the Church of St. Paul of the Cross during his funeral mass at Mount Argus, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
17/02/2014 Mourners at the funeral mass of Cathal Sweeney at the Church of St. Paul of the Cross, Mount Argus, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Mourners at the funeral mass of Cathal Sweeney at the Church of St. Paul of the Cross, Mount Argus, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

FORMER Dublin hurling captain David Sweeney has spoken movingly and with searing honesty at his father’s funeral, saying alcohol had ‘destroyed’ his dad.

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Cathal Sweeney (62) died after being beaten to death in a row at a friend’s flat in Terenure following the Ireland and Wales Six Nations rugby game on February 8.

Hundreds of mourners, including many former Irish international rugby players came to pay their respects at his funeral today at the Church of St Paul of the Cross, Mount Argus in Terenure.

Amongst them was former Ireland captain Ciaran Fitzgerald; former Irish internationals Terry Kennedy, Phil Orr, Rodney O’Donnell and Sean Lynch.

Also present were former international player and politician Jim Glennon; former President of the IRFU John Hussey, publican Charlie Chawke and rugby analyst Brent Pope.

Chief mourners were Mr Sweeney’s children, David, Tim and Fiona and his wife, Niamh from whom he separated many years ago.

In an emotional eulogy, David Sweeney told how he was not going to stand up and claim that his father was “a saint”.

“It is well known that everything wasn’t rosy; our family had its ups and downs,” he said, believed to be in reference to his parents’ separation many years ago.

However he said his father was a good person and a “very generous man who didn’t really care for money or material things.”

He revealed that in a conversation with his siblings, he had stated: “alcohol destroyed our family.”

However his sister, Fiona had replied that he was wrong, it had not destroyed the family: “It just destroyed our dad.”

“She’s right,” David said. “Our family is strong. Our mother has kept everything together over the years,” he said.

“I know we will get through this eventually,” said David.

Prolonged applause rang out in the church as David finished by saying he hoped his dad is happy now and at peace.

“I hope you are painting something or maybe watching a match,” he said.

Nicola Anderson

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