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Daughter was always by her father's side at GAA matches

TRIBUTES were paid last night to Michaela Harte, the young secondary school teacher famous for always being at the side of her father Mickey Harte who manages the Tyrone football team.

In a statement, the Tyrone GAA County Board said it was "shocked and greatly saddened to learn of the sudden death of Michaela".

"It is difficult for us to comprehend the devastation that her new husband John and the Harte family must be feeling at this time. This tragedy will be sorely felt throughout the Tyrone GAA family and on behalf of our players, officials and members in Tyrone and around the world we wish to express our deepest sympathy.

"Ar lamh dheis De go raibh a h-anam uasai", the statement read.

General manager of the Rose of Tralee International Festival Oliver Hurley said he was greatly saddened to hear of the the 2004 Ulster Rose's death.


"Michaela was a wonderful person who had her whole life ahead of her and we extend our deepest sympathy to her husband John McAreavey, her parents Mickey and Marian and her brothers Mark, Michael and Matthew at this time of profound grief," he said.

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was shocked at the 27-year-old's death.

"Just a matter of days ago it was a joyous occasion when Michaela married John and no doubt they planned a long and happy life together," he said.

"They had so much to live for but now their hopes have been cruelly dashed by the tragic death of Michaela.

"Michaela was always close to her father's side during many great days for Tyrone football."

Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew also expressed her condolences to the Harte family.

"Michaela was a beautiful and talented young woman who will be sadly missed," she said.

SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie MP also offered her sympathy to family.

"To lose a child in any circumstances is upsetting but for her life to be cut short while on honeymoon and at such a young age is so very sad," she said.

The family's local priest, Father Brian Hackett, spoke of the close bond between father and daughter.

"Her big thing was her daddy being the manager of Tyrone. She went everywhere with him. She was a religious girl. She was a dedicated Tyrone supporter."

Former Dublin, Roscommon and Cavan manager and All-Star GAA footballer Tommy Carr said: "This has been an absolute shock to everyone."

Fine Gael TD John O'Mahony, who met Mr Harte during his time managing the Galway and Mayo football teams, said Michaela had always been close to her father's heart.

"I am stunned at what happened. At matches Michaela was such a familiar face," he said.

Irish Independent