THE COUSIN of Galway hurler Niall Donohue has urged anyone struggling with difficulties in their lives to talk to someone about their problems.
Speaking at the funeral mass for the 22-year-old, Neil McDonagh told the congregation that one of Niall's greatest attributes was his honesty and that honesty must be used in speaking about the nature of his death.
The 22-year-old was found dead at his home on Wednesday night. He would have celebrated his 23rd birthday last Friday.
Telling mourners that the manner of Niall's death bore no resemblance to his life, he added that Niall taking his own life was "not a decision but a struggle". Mr McDonagh said that if his cousin was here today he would urge others with difficulties to talk to someone.
"Today as you stand next to the people you love remember Niall and be brave enough to talk," he said.
His message was also touched upon by Fr Pat Callanan. He urged the community to look out for each other and to be aware of any signs of difficulty.
"Niall led a good life, a short life, a happy life. He loved his hurling. We must as a community look out for each other and beware of any signs of difficulty in a persons life.
Ciaran Donohue, a first cousin of Niall's thanked the GAA and the local Kilbeacanty community for all their help and support since last Wednesday night.
"At times like this you really get to see what community spirit and above all what the GAA means," he said adding; "To the Kilbeacanty people and in particular the Kilbeacanty hurling club the work has been 24\7 since last Wednesday night. They really have shown what Nially meant to them 100 times over. Words cannot begin to describe how humbled we are by the support that they and all the rest of the hurling clubs not alone in Co Galway but all over Ireland have given us."
Niall's father Francie, brother Shane, sister Orla and girlfriend Ciara Reilly were comforted by family as they made their way into St Columba's Church in their hometown.
Over a thousand mourners packed into the small Galway Church and marquees today to pay their respects. They included the former President of the GAA Joe McDonagh, former Dublin captain Dessie Farrell and Cork goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack. Local TD Ciaran Cannon and former TD Frank Fahey also attended as did the Mayors of Galway city and county, Padraig Conneely and Liam Carroll.
Galway hurling manager Anthony Cunningham and the team captain Fergal Moore read prayers of the faithful.
As the coffin made it's way to Kilbeacanty Church, it made one final stop at Niall's beloved local GAA pitch where members of the Galway Senior panel formed a guard of honour.
They then accompanied their former teammate to the Church, carrying his coffin into the Church. There members of local under age Michael Cusacks club formed a guard of honour with other into the Church. Following the service members of Inter county panel carried the remains out of the Church before delivering him to his Kilbeacanty club teammates who carried him to Rakerin graveyard for burial.
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