Saturday 24 September 2016

Funeral of teenager who died in farming accident told he had a 'zest and passion' for life

Published 29/08/2015 | 15:24

29/8/2015: Family and friends carried the coffin from the church to the graveside at the funeral of Donal English-Hayden in Rathoe. Photo: Pat Moore.
29/8/2015: Family and friends carried the coffin from the church to the graveside at the funeral of Donal English-Hayden in Rathoe. Photo: Pat Moore.

Mourners at the funeral of tragic Donal English-Hayden have remembered a vibrant young boy who had a sweet tooth with a particular fondness for “red sauce and jelly and ice cream”.

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The 14-year-old lost his life following a farm accident, involving a tractor and trailer, in the rural Co Carlow village of Rathoe on Wednesday afternoon.

Talented athlete Donal English Hayden, who died in a tragic tractor accident
Talented athlete Donal English Hayden, who died in a tragic tractor accident

The accomplished athlete was buried this morning after a funeral mass in Saint Patrick’s Church in the village where he was reared.

Fr Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh was the chief celebrant of the mass and Bishop Denis Nulty sent a message of support to his heartbroken parents, Matt and Noeleen, and his siblings.

“Since last Wednesday, the news of the tragic death of Donal, following a farm accident, has caused much sadness in the lives of so many people in this wonderful rural community of Rathoe, in the parish ofBallon,” his message read.

In his homily, Fr Ó Maoldhomhnaigh described Donal as a sports fanatic who had a “zest and passion” for life. 

29/8/2015: Family and friends carried the coffin from the church to the graveside at the funeral of Donal English-Hayden in Rathoe. Photo: Pat Moore.
29/8/2015: Family and friends carried the coffin from the church to the graveside at the funeral of Donal English-Hayden in Rathoe. Photo: Pat Moore.

He told mourners how  the teenager had a love for nature and animals, cows and rabbits in particular.

“Last Wednesday, a fear and trembling gripped us all when we heard that Donal had died as a result of a most unfortunate, unexpected and sudden accident,” the priest said.

“Our thoughts turned to his family. We asked how anyone could cope with such a loss as this,” he added.

Hundreds attended yesterday’s ceremony, including a large number of his school friends and many sporting teammates who provided a guard of honour.

29/8/2015: Family members carrying the coffin from the church to the graveside at the funeral of Donal English-Hayden in Rathoe. Photo: Pat Moore.
29/8/2015: Family members carrying the coffin from the church to the graveside at the funeral of Donal English-Hayden in Rathoe. Photo: Pat Moore.

Offerings to the altar included symbols of his short but colourful, including a toy cow, medals and a hurley.

There was laughter after the priest described Donal’s “run-ins” with referees on the GAA pitch.

"It was said of Dónal that due to his sometime vigorous playing on the pitch that he became known to many a referee. Now he has his hand in the hand of the Great Referee.

"I don’t know what kind of cards they have in heaven, whether they have the black, the yellow or the red, but I am sure Dónal is making the case for there being no need for any cards at all,” the priest said.

“I’m sure in Donal’s case it will be a green card, green for go. To go deeper and deeper into heaven where they only have the best cows, the best behaved rabbits, the kind of plants that he will only have to plant and that will water themselves, the top of the range red sauce and an eternal supply of jelly and ice-cream.”

Delivering an emotional eulogy, his father Matt said his family is drawing comfort from the support shown by the community and thanked them for the kindness in recent days.

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