GAA hurling star John O'Brien buries his brother
TIPPERARY hurlers took time away from training yesterday to support their team-mate John O'Brien as he buried his older brother.
Thomas (Tommy) O'Brien passed away suddenly on Tuesday at the age of 43, and a large crowd turned out in his native Toomevara in north Tipperary yesterday for his funeral Mass and burial.
All-Ireland winner John O'Brien has been named by manager Declan Ryan in the Tipperary team for their semi-final against Kilkenny tomorrow, and will line out in Croke Park just two days after burying his brother.
Tipperary players Noel McGrath, Conor O'Brien and Conor O'Mahony were among those who attended the funeral.
Former Tipp goalkeeper and manager Ken McGrath, 1991 All-Ireland-winning captain Declan Carr, and former county board chairman John Costigan were also present.
Mr O'Brien is survived by his brothers John, former Tipperary hurler Paddy, Seamus and Ter, and also his sisters Anne, Cathy, Maggie and Dilly.
Paddy O'Brien said at the end of the funeral Mass that Tommy was "the ultimate older brother" who was "incredibly and quietly proud" of his younger brothers' achievements on the hurling field.
A "gentle giant", he was bright and intelligent and had a great interest in politics, sport and current affairs.
"He would put you to shame with the depth of his knowledge.
"Enhancing this intelligence was a sharp and cutting wit, and a wonderful sense of humour."