Heartache as Fiona says last goodbye to the 'boy next door'
SHE was the girl next door and he treated her like a "princess".
But yesterday heartbroken Fiona Morrissey held a single red rose as she walked behind the coffin of her boyfriend, 25-year-old James 'Duff' Tynan.
The young woman's life has been turned upside down since the events of a night out with James and their friends in Co Tipperary last weekend.
Only hours later, Fiona was in hospital praying her boyfriend would pull through after an apparently random attack.
Duff, as he was better known to his friends, was punched once in Liberty Square, Thurles.
The young man, who had been to a nightclub in Hayes Hotel earlier with friends, fell to the ground after the punch and banged his head.
He was put on life support at South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, where his loving family maintained a bedside vigil.
He never recovered.
Yesterday, the small community of Johnstown stood still for James.
They watched in silence as Fiona carried a rose for her boyfriend and wept.
At midday yesterday, mourners packed out St Kieran's Church, where James had years earlier made his First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
Hundreds stood outside the church as Fr Francis Maher addressed the huge congregation.
At the funeral were James's parents, Pascal and Dolores, his brother Neil and sisters Elizabeth, Kay, Nuala and Jacqueline.
After the Mass, locals heard how James had "many friends", and had always tried to make people laugh and raise their spirits with stories.
Speaking from the altar, a family member said James had treated Fiona "like a princess".
"She was the love of his life... and we were delighted that she was the girl next door."
The young man was "spoiled" by his mum, Dolores, who always cooked his dinner when he came home at lunchtime and made him tea and toast.
Former Fianna Fail minister John McGuinness TD and Kilkenny hurler PJ Delaney were also among the mourners who attended yesterday's service.
Gardai are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding James's death and have already questioned a 21-year-old man in relation to the matter.