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Hurler Cathal drops dead at training pitch

A HURLER living in London who collapsed and died suddenly during a training session is believed to be the latest victim of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Tributes have been pouring in for Cathal Forde (28), from Gort, Co Galway, who had been working as an engineer in London for the past three years.

He collapsed during a training session with the north London GAA club Kilburn Gaels on Tuesday. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Whittington Hospital in Archway.

Cathal's brother Niall, who was also at the training grounds when the tragedy happened, said the family was in shock.

"He wasn't in any distress during the session. We were just tipping around, it was nothing too hectic or too hard," he said.

Half-way through training, Cathal was seen to fall.

"We looked around and he was on the ground and by that time it was nearly all over. It was something in the heart and he just fell over," said Niall.

"He was fit as a fiddle before it happened," he added.

Niall was told by paramedics that the cause of his brother's death was probably SADS.

Victims

The usually undiagnosed heart condition kills about one person a week in Ireland. High-profile victims include Tyrone footballer Cormac McAnallen.

Cathal was an engineer in London for the Getjar construction company and was living with his girlfriend, Sile.

His parents John and Eileen travelled from their Galway home to England, along with his brothers Sean and Liam.

"He was working away here and things were going very well. We're in complete shock," said Niall. "He was settled here, but I reckon his plans were to go back to Ireland in the next couple of years," he added.

Niall said his brother was a gifted and dedicated hurler.

"He was the corner back on the Kilburn team in 2010. We played together on the Gort team and both won a senior championship in London."

The family is now awaiting the release of Cathal's remains.

Team-mates yesterday gathered with his family to remember him. "He was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, a complete gentleman," said Kilburn chairman Mick Burke.

Gort GAA club chairman Martin Kerins said the community community was numbed by the tragedy.

hnews@herald


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