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'Freak accident' Crowd sings Fields of Athenry at vigil for tragic Galway camogie player Kate Moran

Ms Moran’s Athenry Camogie Club senior teammates walked in pairs to lay candles in a heart shape in the centre of the field.

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Candles are lit for at the vigil for Kate Moran. Picture: Ray Ryan

Candles are lit for at the vigil for Kate Moran. Picture: Ray Ryan

Candles are lit for at the vigil for Kate Moran. Picture: Ray Ryan

THOUSANDS of people gathered this evening for a candlelight vigil in a heartfelt show of respect to Kate Moran and her family.

Among the flickering candles and silent tears, and amid the dense sorrow at Kenny Park in Athenry, lone violinist Kevin Rohan played a sorrowful air as crowds remembered the young camogie player who died after sustaining a blow to the head during a match.

Ms Moran’s Athenry Camogie Club senior teammates walked in pairs to lay candles in a heart shape in the centre of the field.

The crowd erupted into applause as they were joined moments later by members of Ardrahan Camogie Club, who also laid candles and stood in solidarity.

As the players stood together Joe Glynn sang a haunting rendition of The Fields of Athenry, with the crowd joining in for the last verse.

“In a few weeks’ time Kate would have been 21 – a short time to live, but she packed so much into it,” Fr Benny McHale told the crowd.

He said Ms Moran’s family were overwhelmed by all the good wishes and support they had received.

“We know that nobody can ever take Kate’s place in their hearts and in their lives,” he said.

“Tonight we realise that while sport often divides us, suffering and grief always unites us.

“We’re all here tonight – every single one of us – because we all feel it could have been me, it could have been my family, we never know in life.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard The Fields of Athenry being sung so meaningfully – the idea of a ship fading into the horizon, as Kate fades into the horizon now of heaven.

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“But she’s not gone from us, she’s not gone to Australia or Tasmania, we believe she is gone to a greater place – and tonight we think of the ship fading from view, but we think of Kate being with us forever because of the resurrection.”

Earlier, a close family friend said the NUIG commerce student from Monivea in Galway was “the most loving kid you could ever see”.

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Kate Moran

Kate Moran

Kate Moran

Former Galway all-star hurler Joe Rabbitte said the community was devastated by the death of the 20-year-old NUIG commerce student after she was struck on the head during a camogie match.

“Every time you met her,you wanted to give her a hug,” Mr Rabbitte told Marty Morrissey on RTÉ radio’s News at One yesterday.

“She was a great friend to all the girls that played camogie. I have two daughters that played with Kate, and you never heard anything nasty. She was just a wonderful, wonderful kid.

“We are very close friends to the Morans. My dad hurled with Georgie [Kate’s grandfather], I hurled with her father Cathal and my daughters hurled with Kate. It was a tradition handed down.

“A part of Athenry camogie died on Monday evening. We’re devastated. It’s going to be a very, very hard road for us all to travel in the coming months.

“I’m 40 years in the game and I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s just a freak accident.”

Ms Moran died on Tuesday due to head injuries sustained in an accidental collision during a senior camogie league match on Easter Monday between her club, Athenry, and Ardrahan.

It is understood she was wearing a helmet and was initially able to walk away from the incident. She was taken to University Hospital Galway where she died on Tuesday.

Her death has “shaken the people of Athenry and Monivea to their core”, said a Galway councillor who knew Ms Moran personally.

It has served as “a reminder of just how fragile every one of our lives really are,” said Albert Dolan.

Mr Dolan, who did Irish dancing with Ms Moran when they were children, said: “We will remember the legacy she has left behind – such a talented, young role model who was very successful at everything she turned her hand to. She had such a bright future ahead of her.”

Ms Moran will be laid to rest on Friday after funeral mass at 1pm at the Church of The Sacred Heart, Ryehill, Monivea. She will then be laid to rest at Templemoyle Cemetery in Athenry.

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