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All-Star tribute to tragic hurler Niall

THE late Galway hurler Niall Donohue has been included in the county's All Star team of the year, in a touching tribute from his teammates.

The young player passed away last October but he has received the posthumous honour for leading his beloved Kilbeacanty club to the county quarter-finals before his untimely death.

The award was accepted by Niall's brother Shane on his behalf, with many family members present at the event.

Galway county manager Anthony Cunningham said Niall would always be the "silent partner" of the team both on the pitch and in the dressing room.

Secretary of the Galway Hurling Board, Pat Kearney said Niall was chosen for the All Star team because of the way he had played for his club and his country throughout the year.


He added that the event, which was held in McCarthy's bar in Kilbeacanty, had been a "sad and poignant occasion".

"It was a fitting tribute to Niall. It was dignified but a very sad affair," Mr Kearney said.

"The fact that it took place in Kilbeacanty added to that. His family are steeped in hurling and many of them were there on the night.

"Niall will never be forgotten, he will always be a part of the Kilbeacanty team and as Anthony Cunningham said he'll be a silent partner with the Galway team."

Niall was found dead at his home at Ballyturin, Co Galway on October 23 last, just two days before his 23rd birthday.

Niall McDonagh, a first cousin of the young hurler who gave a touching eulogy at his funeral, said the family had received calls and letters from across the country after they spoke out about Niall's suicide urging others to talk about their worries.

A tribute from his parish also urged people to make 2014 the year of community in his memory.

"Niall's passing is still hurting in a lot of people's hearts and that pain will be there for a long, long time to come.

"So 2013 the year of The Gathering is gone now and 2014 is about to begin, maybe Niall's passing should make us make this the year of the community," read the posting on the Kilbeacanty old and new Facebook page.