THE heartbroken brother of a young GAA star who collapsed and died while playing in a football match has told how the teenager was his hero.
There were heartbreaking scenes at St Abina's church, Clondrohid, Co Cork, yesterday for the Requiem Mass of 16-year-old Shane Murphy who died suddenly on Monday.
Huge crowds gathered inside and outside the church to offer their sympathies to his parents, Dan and Marguerite, and his siblings, Neilus, Colin, Daniel and Caoimhe, and grandmother Kitty, and to remember the fifth-year student at Colaiste Ghobnatan in Ballyvourney who "brought light into everyone's life".
Neilus said that while everybody thought Shane was an "angel", behind closed doors he was "the biggest messer you'd ever come across".
He said sport was his younger brother's passion and that he loved hurling and football.
"Words cannot describe how gifted Shane was. The minute he stepped into the world everybody knew he was going to be one in a million," he said.
Neilus recalled how he was at the match on Monday when Shane collapsed.
"He got the ball, went for a goal and missed it," he said.
"I looked at him and he looked at me and we both smiled and he put his hands up to his head.
"He had a smile on his face. It was like he wanted me there to see him play his last game.
"Shane will always be in our memory because of the amount of people he touched in his short life. We are so proud of Shane. He is my hero and he will always be."
A Christmas present, a hurley, a football and three sports jerseys were along the symbols of the teenager's life that were brought to the altar.
Fr Anthony Wickham said Shane was a great son and brother and a talented and dedicated sportsman.
He told how he had put up the Christmas decorations at home just days before his sudden death.
Students from Colaiste Ghobnatan and members of Clondrohid GAA club formed a guard of honour as the coffin was taken from the church.
Shane was playing in the Cork Vocational Colleges semi-final against Kinsale when, 10 minutes into the second half, he collapsed.
The match was immediately abandoned as teachers tried to revive him.
He was taken to Cork University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.