Friends from home remember strong character
Garda Tony Golden was remembered in his hometown as "a gentle giant" who was always polite and smiling.
As news of his tragic death spread, those who had known Tony Golden in Culleens, Ballina, Co Mayo, expressed their sympathies for his family.
At Culleens National School, prayers were said for the father of three and a small memorial showing Tony as a young student at the school was surrounded by flowers and a single candle.
Principal Claire Cooke, who had taught Gda Golden as a child, recalled him as a lovely guy.
"He was such a tall, big fella even as a child, in the school photos he would always be standing at the back, smiling out. He was big into sport. He loved hurling and he was a good all-round student. We're reeling here, everyone is just in a state of shock," she added.
Tony Golden was one of six children. His parents David and Brid have a small farm in Culleens and his father also drives a taxi. His siblings David, Kenneth, Patrick, Sean and Mary are now comforting his heartbroken parents, wife and children.
Garda Golden played hurling for Ballina Stephenites right up into his 20s. Former teammate and club chairman John Healy said they were "absolutely devastated by his tragic passing".
"Tony played both Gaelic and hurling with the club for many years.
"He was a big strong character but a gentle giant at the same time. He was a very popular figure and everyone is in a state of shock here," he said.
John Cummins, former principal of Culleens National School, said locals were devastated for the Golden family.
"Anthony was the most gentle and polite fella you could meet, a really lovely young man. He was a gentle giant," he added.
Family friend Cllr Gerry Ginty, Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District, said the community was in shock.