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Tributes to GAA ref who collapsed and died at U-16 match


Referee Dominic Rooney

Referee Dominic Rooney

Referee Dominic Rooney

A community is in mourning after a Defence Forces veteran died after collapsing as he refereed a juvenile camogie match as shocked teenagers looked on.

Dominic Rooney (45) died despite desperate efforts to revive him pitchside in Douglas in Cork on Saturday and later at Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Mr Rooney served with the Defence Forces in both Lebanon and Kosovo.


From Kildare, he had settled in Carrigtwohill in east Cork with his wife and three children after being based at Collins Barracks with the Defence Forces engineering corps.

A lifelong GAA fan, he had become deeply involved in Carrigtwohill GAA and underage refereeing over recent years.

Mr Rooney was an experienced referee and worked in both the Gaelic football and camogie codes. At lunchtime on Saturday, he was refereeing an U-16 camogie match between Douglas and Brian Dillons at Douglas Community School.

The second half had just started when Mr Rooney suddenly took ill. He made it to the sideline before he collapsed.

Officials from both clubs and onlookers rushed to his aid.

A defibrillator was available at the grounds and Mr Rooney was rushed by ambulance to CUH.

Despite desperate efforts by CUH doctors to stabilise his condition, he was pronounced dead shortly after admission.


Cork County Board officials as well as local GAA clubs paid tribute to Mr Rooney last night.

One Carrigtwohill Community Council member said "the entire community is shocked and heartbroken" by the tragedy.

Cork Camogie Board described Mr Rooney as "a hugely dedicated referee and a total gentleman".

"Everyone is absolutely shocked. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family on such a terribly tragic loss," CCB chairwoman Mary McSweeney said.

A minute's silence will be observed at Cork juvenile camogie and ladies' football matches as a mark of respect to Mr Rooney.