Probably the most touching few minutes of all at the funeral of Raymond Daniels, whose sudden death had shocked a town and county was Michael Sargent's final tribute to his friend and clubmate from the altar in Blessington Church at the end of the funeral Mass, writes Peter Keogh. Michael started by recalling when another young Blessington footballer Pat Fanning died in similar
Probably the most touching few minutes of all at the funeral of Raymond Daniels, whose sudden death had shocked a town and county was Michael Sargent's final tribute to his friend and clubmate from the altar in Blessington Church at the end of the funeral Mass, writes Peter Keogh.
Michael started by recalling when another young Blessington footballer Pat Fanning died in similar circumstances 20 years ago.
It is always difficult to find words on the death of one so young' he said.
Ray is a huge loss to his family, the Blessington GAA Club, the Blessington Soccer Club and the Wicklow team.
Ray lived his early years in Dunlavin and had many happy times and many friends there. He played in the county final of '97 with Dunlavin and won county titles with the Dunlavin schools team.
He was also on the Wicklow Vocational Schools team that won a Leinster title. He was the sub goalie on the Wicklow Minor football team that contested the Leinster final in '97 and subsequently played U-21 Football for Wicklow.
He had the rare distinction of being named Player of the year' in Dunlavin in'97 and was given the same honour in Blessington in 2003
He always wanted to be a goalkeeper and with Jimmy Whittle in Dunlavin, spent many hours before training and after training in pursuit of that goal, Wicklow play Antrim in Aughrim on Sunday and when they played this time last year, Ray was in goal, as he was when the sides met two years ago.
Ray was one of those players who gave encouragement to others and even when not in the Wicklow side he coached the No. 1 and No. 2 goalkeepers, even though he was always striving to get back to No. 1 himself. He had the approval and support of Mick O'Dwyer who said he was one of the most agreeable fellas you could ever meet in your life - a real gentleman.
Rasher even Micko called him that, really and truly put himself through the wringer to get into shape and I don't think that either Mervyn or Billy will mind me saying, he was the No. 1 for me when he was fit and healthy.
Eamon O'Donovan in soccer and Peter Behan in Blessington GAA have lost a great player.
Ray spoke with U-21 manager Phillip McGillycuddy on Wednesday and stated that he would like to get back training shortly and he thought the U-21 would be the best place to start
Ray spent Saturday with Jonathan and son Ben at Liffey Valley and he was a huge Liverpool supporter and in fact Shane, Jonathan and Ray and girlfriend had all booked to watch Liverpool on the 7th March at Anfield.
There will be one empty seat there that day.
Many of Ray's friends from Carriglen, Troupersfield, Mountainview, and Lakeview are overseas and those friends like Justin and Ruth Curran, Jonathan Behan, Niall Finnegan, Robbie McDonald, Ray McCarthy and Peter Nolan right from Australia to America are thinking of Ray today.
Michael finished with a special word for Ray's grandmother Mrs Lee from Dunlavin.
Personal tributes were read from Rays friends, Justin Curran in Kentucky and Jone and Claire Behan in Dubai.
He also read a thankyou'note from the family, Linda and Ben, Theresa, Shane, Jonathan and family, Trish and Tony.
We can say the events are heartbreaking, devastating, tough to take, he was one of the very best and all we are left really only to say Farewell Raymond'.