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Family of tragic GAA star share their shock over sudden loss

THE family of a young GAA star whose sudden death stunned Ireland told last night of their shock at the loss of Mickey Harte's daughter Michaela.

Cormac McAnallen was only 24 when he died from Sudden Cardiac Arrest in 2004.

His parents, who said the Harte family had given them huge support in the intervening years, passed on their condolences.

Cormac's mother Bridget said: "The circumstances are different, but they are also very similar in that you have the death of a young, healthy son or daughter, who you would never have expected to pass away."

She said her family knew the huge burden the Harte family would be carrying.

Mrs McAnallen and her husband Brendan formed a charitable trust in memory of their son. They now lobby to raise awareness of the condition that claimed his life.

The GAA community across Ireland was shocked by news of the high-profile player's death.

Then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern led tributes to the young sportsman.

Cormac was a member of the Tyrone All-Ireland winning team in 2003.

His sudden loss was a major blow to his teammates, but his memory helped inspire them to even greater success.

In 2005 when Tyrone reclaimed the title, Mickey Harte paid an emotional tribute to Cormac.

Irish Independent