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Orla embraced a wonderful life

IT was break-time at Johnstown. The children had just emerged from their class-rooms.

You could hear their beautiful sound from the porch of the nearby church, which was packed to overflowing.

If those pupils follow the path of Orla Quill, they will be forever on the right road.

Orla went to school there before attending St Joseph's of Cluny and then DIT.


Her young life was a treasure. And she cherished every moment.

She played for Cuala. Every time she put on the boots, she gave all that she had.

But, most of all, she reminded everybody about the essence of sport. It was meant to be fun. It was to be enjoyed.

Her mother, Eileen, told how Orla delighted in the simple things - calling to the grandparents for a chat, "watching stupid, old films with me, and going to matches, hundreds of them, with her father."

Her Dad, Fintan, is the mentor all teams would love to have. Giving your best is his idea of an All-Ireland medal.

Orla's younger sisters, Roisín and Siobhan, have learned so much from her example, on the pitch and off it.

She was cheerful and kind. She made an impact on all she met.

The Guard of Honour stretched up the road and around the corner. And further still.

It was a fitting tribute. The Cuala message board was jammed.

Words of consolation and hope. And of congratulations for such a lovely person.

From all ages, the theme was clear - you'd walk a million miles for one of her smiles.

Eileen told Orla's friends to go on to be the very best they can be. Because that was the bible Orla believed in.

Eileen urged them all to follow their dreams. And whatever route they took, to make sure they enjoyed the journey.


Eileen said that Orla's physical presence is missing now. That's all.

She'll still be here in spirit, keeping an eye on everybody and whispering in their ears.

"I will be listening," said Eileen. She won't be alone.

In that great old film, A Wonderful Life, they said that every time a church bell rang, an angel got their wings.

The sweet music around Killiney and Dalkey last week confirmed that Orla has already graduated with a honours degree.

The day of her final journey was Candlemas Day - 40 days since Christmas Day.

Orla Quill's life is one candle that will never blow out.