Outpouring of grief as teacher and GAA player laid to rest at 28
CLOSE to 1,000 mourners attended the funeral of a popular young teacher and athlete who died of a brain haemorrhage.
Such was the outpouring of grief from family, friends, colleagues and past and present students of Alan Feeley that an overflow crowd of mourners spilled outside St Colman's Church in Claremorris, Co Mayo, yesterday.
Parish priest Fr Peter Gannon told the packed congregation of the loss of a hugely accomplished and loved man, whose life was tragically cut short at the age of just 28.
A PE teacher at Scoil na Trionoide Naofa in Doon, Co Limerick, for the past five years, Mr Gannon collapsed on Monday. He had lined out for his local Claremorris GAA club just 24 hours earlier.
He was rushed to University Hospital Limerick but died on Tuesday evening.
Fr Gannon said Mr Feeley charmed everyone who met him and was not only an inspiration to his students but to his fellow athletes and adventurers, as well as his many friends.
"The whole community was there," Fr Gannon told the Irish Independent last night.
"He just had a unique way of reaching out to people. There were no age barriers. He packed more into little over a quarter of a century than most people do in a lifetime.
"He has travelled the world and been to every continent. His fitness was exceptional and he had a smile that lifted his whole face. Alan had such a lovely, laid-back nature."
Mr Feeley's heartbroken parents, Willie and Kathleen, his grandmother Sadie Molloy and siblings Hugh, Donal, Liam and Aideen were among the chief mourners.
Mr Feeley's death will not go in vain as his parents carried out his wish that his organs be donated.
He will also be on the minds of his team-mates from Old Crescent RFC in Limerick, where he played alongside his brother Liam. The club has postponed this weekend's fixtures as a mark of respect.
A private memorial was held at the family home last night following Mr Feeley's burial at St Colman's cemetery.
- Allison Bray