Tuesday 25 September 2018

'We enjoyed his company so much' - tributes paid to GAA player who died in Florida

Conal McKee passed away in Florida last Saturday
Conal McKee passed away in Florida last Saturday
Conal McKee died in Miami on Saturday morning Photo: Dundrum GAC/Facebook

Stewart Robson

The funeral of a GAA player who died in Florida will take place on Sunday as family and friends continue to pay heartfelt tributes.

Conal McKee (26), originally from Dundrum in Co Down, passed away in the West Boca Medical Centre last Saturday after being in a coma for over a week.

The former Dundrum GAC player had moved to the US to live with his partner Kata and seven-month old son Danny.

Mr McKee's death has stunned his local community here as well as those who knew him in America.

Conal McKee died in Miami on Saturday morning
Photo: Dundrum GAC/Facebook
Conal McKee died in Miami on Saturday morning Photo: Dundrum GAC/Facebook

While living in New York he worked as a barman at the St Pat's Bar and Grill on West 46th Street.

Many regulars at the New York City FC supporters pub shared their fond memories on social media of the man they knew as "Capitan".

"Conal was a good guy and a great bartender," said Mario Norena.

"We called him 'Captain' because of the black armband tattoo he had.

"We enjoyed his company so much pre and post-game that I asked the people in charge of the supporters group to request that Conal be our official bartender. In other words, If we were there for an NYCFC game, we wanted Conal on the second floor.

"I don't know if the request was ever made, but eventually things lined up perfectly and he was always on the second floor when we were.

"We learned he was living in Queens, not too far from us, and we talked about hanging out after work or inviting him to an NYCFC game."

Members of Mr McKee's family flew out to the US to bring the body home earlier this week with the assistance of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.

Mr McKee's remains will leave his family home at 1.15pm on Sunday, with his funeral service taking place at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Dundrum at 2pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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