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Tearful mother tells of pride at Fionn's bravery in cancer battle

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‘Little miracle’: Parents Eimear and Jack Doyle carry the coffin of their son Fionn in Kildorrery, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

‘Little miracle’: Parents Eimear and Jack Doyle carry the coffin of their son Fionn in Kildorrery, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

‘Little miracle’: Parents Eimear and Jack Doyle carry the coffin of their son Fionn in Kildorrery, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

A heartbroken mother paid tribute to her "little miracle" son who lost a five-year battle with cancer on New Year's Day - but whose incredible courage in fighting the illness inspired thousands.

Eimear Doyle fought back tears as she told mourners how "so, so proud" her family was of little Fionn (7), Ireland's youngest honorary Garda, who fought leukaemia after being diagnosed with the cancer at just 18 months.

Fionn made national headlines last summer when an appeal to make his seventh birthday extra special given his terminal cancer diagnosis sparked an international response.

Eimear, her husband Jack, and daughters Amy and Saoirse all wore orange jumpers at their son's Mass of the Angels in Kildorrery, Co Cork, in honour of the fact it was the little boy's favourite colour.

Hundreds attended St Bartholomew's Church, with special guards of honour provided by Fionn's national school classmates and Kildorrery scouts.

Fionn's white coffin was decorated with paintings of his favourite TV show 'Power Rangers', and the offertory gifts reflected the loves of his short life - a lead for his dog Lightning, a cherished 'Power Rangers' toy, his beloved honorary Garda badge, and a family photo.

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Fionn in a Garda car on his birthday last year. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Fionn in a Garda car on his birthday last year. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Fighting back tears, Eimear paid a heart-rending tribute to her little son.

"To Fionn, I would just like to say from me, Daddy, Amy and Saoirse, we are so grateful that we got the chance to have you in our lives," she said.

"Our gorgeous, happy, chatty little man - our cheeky monkey. We are so, so proud of you - and how you fought so hard for so long with such bravery and courage.

"You still kept that gorgeous smile on your face throughout it all. These last seven months you have battled on, even though no one had expected that you would.

"During that time, we grabbed life together and made wonderful memories that we will treasure forever," she said.

"We will miss you more than words can ever, ever say. But how lucky are we to have had someone in our lives that made saying goodbye so hard. Love you, Fionn."

She received an ovation from mourners and then paused to kiss Fionn's coffin.

Kildorrery Parish Priest Fr Eamon Kelleher hailed Fionn as a "little miracle".

The family said they were "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support from Ireland and worldwide, much of it from people who never met Fionn but were inspired by his courage.

Irish Independent