'He thought I was his hero, but he was my hero . . . what a boy, what a legend'
The heartbroken dad of a four-year-old who died after being hit by a truck paid an emotional tribute to him at his funeral yesterday.
Conor McDaid's small white coffin was carried into the same church -- St Mary's Church in Drogheda, Co Louth -- where he had been baptised.
His mother Mary, clutching her son's favourite teddy and photos of him, was comforted by family as she said a final farewell to Conor, who died biking on Tuesday after a collision with a truck.
"The three of us had the best years of our lives," his dad Paul said. "We loved Conor like no other. Every morning he climbed into bed beside us and asked for a good cuddle and for us to scratch his back.
"He would always promise to look after his mammy until I got home. He was so special.
"We are grateful he touched so many people's lives, and they touched his. He loved everybody.
"He was going to be the best at everything he did -- football, hurling. The world is missing out on a star.
"He told us he loved us every day without being asked. He hugged and kissed us always whether he was in a good or bad mood. What a guy, what a boy, what a legend.
"He looked up to me. He thought I was his hero but he was my hero.
Conor, who was due to start school next month, was buried in the new uniform he never got to wear in class.
"There will be an empty chair at school next week," his father told mourners. "We love you so much Conor. We had so much fun. Our son, our star, our best friend, our little ray of sunshine.
"You will never walk alone. We will walk with you again soon. Night, night baby. See you in the morning. Night now, don't turn off the light. Night."
Paul also asked mourners to pray for the driver of the truck who accidentally knocked Conor down just metres from their family home in Tullyallen, Drogheda, Co Louth.
"Pray for that man, that he recovers, and in the near future myself and himself will share a drink in the Star bar," he said.
Items representing Conor's short life included a hurley, football boots, a Buzz Lightyear toy, his wellies, a photograph of him on his baptism day and a magnet from Australia, where he had recently gone on holiday with his parents.
"Last Valentine's Day Conor gave his parents a gift of a collage of his hand and finger prints," parish priest Father Denis Nulty said.
"There was a poem on it about how little hand prints disappear and this would be a momentum, a small reminder.
"This in time will make his parents smile."
Mary and Paul, Conor's grandparents Pat and Sheila McDaid and Marie and Peter O'Brien comforted each other as Conor was taken to his final resting place in nearby Calvary cemetery.