Det Garda Donohoe was active in local GAA club and devoted father
They were a young couple in love, with a young family who epitomised the virtues of public service.
Garda Adrian Donohoe, brutally gunned down on Friday night at the age of just 41, leaves behind his broken hearted wife Caroline, a daughter and a son to carry on without him.
Originally from Kilnaleck, Co Cavan and one of six children, Adrian had three brothers and two sisters. Three of his siblings are also members of the gardai. His brother Colum Donohoe is stationed at Swords in north Dublin while his other brother Martin is stationed at Navan, Co Meath.
He has another brother Alan, who lives in England and was believed to be returning home yesterday, and two sisters, Ann and Mary.
Martin is believed to have been on duty on Friday night when the notice of Adrian's murder came through.
The tragic news of his death was deeply felt across all of Ireland yesterday but particularly in his home county of Cavan. A former county player with Cavan at minor and under-21 level, Adrian remained deeply involved with the GAA until his callous murder on Friday night, less than a mile from his own home.
Described as a quiet giant, one local remembered him fondly yesterday as being so decent that he'd "almost be afraid to summons someone". He was involved with the Crosserlough club since he was a small boy and his father Hugh also played with the club.
According to "devastated" Kilnaleck locals yesterday, the Donohoes are a devout family, with Adrian's mother Peggy said to be involved with the local church.
Adrian, a skilful footballer, played with Crosserlough at every level up to seniors and played both in midfield and as a forward. He was instrumental in the club's U21 victory in 1989 before he transferred to his Dundalk club in the mid 1990s.
A Mass was said in his memory yesterday and leading figures from Crosserlough club offered their support and condolences to the Donohoe family.
The annual Crosserlough dinner dance due to take place last night was cancelled "until further notice" as a "mark of respect for Adrian Donohoe".
Growing up, he would socialise with his friends and his team mates in the local pubs, Smiths and Fionas.
Adrian met his wife Caroline Deloughery from Kilkee, Co Clare, herself a member of the gardai, while they were studying together at Templemore back in 1994.
Their romance blossomed and the couple were later married in the small seaside town of Kilkee.
The Deloughery family are well known and the parents, Stephen and Bridie, along with other family members travelled from Kilkee to Dundalk to comfort Caroline and her family yesterday. Caroline's twin brother Derek is also a garda sergeant and is attached to Henry Street station in Limerick.
Caroline is currently attached to the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dundalk. She had previously been stationed at Roxboro in Limerick city.
Adrian was described by many who knew him yesterday as a "true gentleman", and he and Caroline moved to Dundalk about 16 years ago and he was stationed there for most of his garda career.
The couple have two small children, a boy and a girl aged six and seven, who go to school directly across the road from where their father was shot dead on Friday.
Yesterday, Cavan County Board were amongst those to express their sympathy. "The board and officers of Cavan County Board wish to extend their sympathies to the family, colleagues, friends and club members of former county minor and U-21 player, Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, following his tragic death in the course of duty last night. Ar dheis de go raibh a hanam dilis," their statement read.
Martin Tynan, a friend who played minor football with Cavan alongside Adrian, described him as a "gentle giant" before calling for a reintroduction of capital punishment.
"My good friend Adrian Donohoe who played county minors with me was a gentle giant from Crosserlough who became a guard and was shot dead in Dundalk. God Bless him and his family, bring back capital punishment. RIP my friend," he wrote.
Adrian and Caroline's home is less than a mile from where he was murdered outside the credit union in Bellurgan.
He was well known in the area for his involvement in the GAA. He was also heavily involved in local community relations on behalf of the gardai.
He is pictured on the website of Bellurgan National School, where his children attend, during his visit to educate the children about the job of the gardai.
"The pupils of senior and junior infants were treated to a visit by local gardai where they saw a traffic patrol car, met local gardai and got to see gardai equipment at close hand. Garda Adrian Donohoe, a parent in the school, explained to the children how the gardai help people in our community and taught the children how to act sensibly when crossing the road," the website said.
Adrian played football for St Patrick's Gaelic club in Lordship. Councillor Jim Loughlin, who played football with Adrian, spoke of his intense shock at the news of his murder.
"I only spoke to him in the town last week. He was a lovely chap and had a great sporting career in the community," he said.
He also managed a Louth Garda GAA team which competed in a garda inter-county competition back in 2010.
Det Garda Adrian Donohoe is the first member of the force to be shot dead since the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe in Adare, Co Limerick in 1996.
Last year, Adrian was involved in a high-profile investigation and court case. He was lead investigator on a case which culminated in three men being convicted for extorting €67,000 from victim, Niall Hearty, back in 2009.
The three guilty men were given jail sentences of between eight and 10 years.
His colleague Detective Garda Joseph Ryan, who was with Det Garda Donohoe as he was gunned down and has been left deeply traumatised by the murder of his friend and colleague, is regarded as a fine investigator within the force.