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Sunday 20 January 2019

'He was one of a kind' - tributes paid to gun murder victim Bobby

The remains of Bobby Messett are carried to the cemetery after his funeral Mass at St Mochonog’s Church, Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, yesterday. Photos: Colin Keegan
The remains of Bobby Messett are carried to the cemetery after his funeral Mass at St Mochonog’s Church, Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, yesterday. Photos: Colin Keegan
Mourners at the funeral of Bobby Messett in Bray. Picture: Collins
Family members walk behind the coffin as it is carried from the church. Photos: Colin Keegan
Bobby Messett Photos: Colin Keegan
Former Ireland football international Damien Duff was among the mourners. Photos: Colin Keegan
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The funeral of Bobby Messett, who was shot dead in the Bray Boxing Club gun attack last Tuesday, has heard how his death was too tragic, too sudden and too soon.

There were emotional scenes as the coffin of the grandfather-of-three was carried to St Mochonog's Church in his home village of Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, yesterday.

Members from Mr Messett's beloved Glencormac United soccer club and Bray Wheelers Cycling Club formed guards of honour and helped carry his body through the sunshine of the perfect summer's day to remember him before he was laid to rest.

"Everyone who knew my dad Bobby knew that he was one of a kind. He packed more into his 50 years than a man who could live to be 100," his son Gary told mourners.

"He was a family man most importantly, and loved by everyone around him. Although we are all devastated that he was taken so cruelly and way too soon, it gives us some comfort to know that he is reunited with his ma and da."

Bobby's mother Delores died little over three months ago.

"Sport played a huge role in his life, and it's where he made his closest friends," said Gary.

"My da never sat still for a minute. He loved to keep busy, and he did just that. He has left a huge void in our lives that will never be filled again."

Symbols taken to the altar included his number five Glencormac United jersey, a picture of his pigeons, a Liverpool crest, golf balls, a photograph of his three grandchildren, his boxing gloves, his cycling helmet and a bottle of rum to "send him on his way".

Fr Dan Nguyen prayed not only for Mr Messett, but for the other victims of the attack: boxing trainer Peter Taylor, the father of Olympic gold medallist Katie, and Ian Britton. Mr Taylor remained in hospital yesterday recovering from gunshot wounds to the arm and chest.

Fr Nguyen said that mourners were gathering at the church in a shocked state. So many turned up to pay tribute that the majority had to remain outside in the church grounds listening on a loudspeaker system.

"Bobby was kind, warm, friendly, gentle, hard-working and well respected. He died before his time. It was too tragic, too sudden and too soon, but this tragedy has allowed us to see the impact that Bobby had made on those in his life," added Fr Nguyen. The priest then told how it was Mr Messett who had organised his mother's funeral in February, and how he would often bump into him coming to the grave to pray for his parents.

One day he came with his daughter and visited Fr Nguyen. He asked the priest if he had enough logs, and organised to collect some from a friend.

Ex-Ireland soccer star Damien Duff was one of the mourners at the funeral. Senior gardaí, who are continuing to investigate the case, also attended.

Mr Messett is survived by his children Gary, Bobby and Demi, their mother Jackie, partner Natalie and her son Alex, sister Paula, brothers Jimmy and Glenn and grandchildren.

Irish Independent

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