Heartbreaking | 

Funeral mass for Brendan 'Ógie' Og Ó'Dufaigh told how humble young man was a rising GAA star

'He was the only player that ever played every minute of every match in the league and in the championship that year'
Brendan Og O'Dufaigh

Brendan Og O'Dufaigh

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The heart-breaking funeral mass of Brendan 'Ógie' Og Ó'Dufaigh at St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan was told how the rising GAA player was such a humble young man that all he would ever say about his achievements on the field was “I had a good enough game”.

The 19-year-old U20 Monaghan footballer was killed in a single-vehicle crash last Friday, just hours after he had led his team to victory in a crucial inter-county semi-final.

The priest officiating at his service said it was with a “heavy heart that I, on behalf of Bishop Duffy and all the people of our community welcome you here today for the funeral mass of' Ógie' Og Ó'Dufaigh".

He welcomed and offered sincere condolences to Ogie’s heartbroken family, to his father Brendan, mother Esther, sisters Clare and Aine, aunts, uncles and all his relatives and relations.

His friends, fellow players and all his work mates in Kingspan were also acknowledged as well as all those watching the service remotely all over the world.

Commandant Caroline Burke, representing the Taoiseach, was present as was the president of the GAA Larry McCarthy.

Various symbols of his life were brought to the altar including a family portrait, “as he was the centre of a very close-knit Ó'Dufaigh family”, and a cross and chain that he had asked his mother Esther to bring home from Medjugorje.

There was a hammer representing his work in Kingspan, where he worked 12 hour shifts, a car registration plate, depicting his love for cars, three football jerseys, Harps, Monaghan and Coláiste Oriel representing the heart and soul of his life, and his Leaving Cert engineering project recognising his love of practical subjects in school.

“I know you are devastated, heartbroken and in bits today,” the priest said. “Our community too is numb with grief. It's so evident from flicking through the condolences on RIP.ie that Ogie’s death has touched the hearts of so many, nationally, and internationally.

“On Friday night last, three of us, Brandon, Declan and myself along with Claire and many others witnessed the shining star of Ogie fade beyond the clouds but only to brighten that room that the Lord has prepared for him in the gospel today. "

"It is not what we had hoped for,” he added. “We hoped that Ogie’s star would have continued to shine on his family and on his loved ones and on the greatest GAA pitches and stages in Ireland.”

The priest also spoke of Ogie’s faith and the fact that in pre-Covid time he would go to morning mass.

“He also had his rosary beads and a cross in the side pocket of his kit bag last Friday night,” the priest said.

“Ogie seldom passed a church without blessing himself, no matter who was in his presence and he was always the first to report to you, Esther, if Brendan didn't say the morning prayer in the car on the way to school.

“You, his family, I know were the focus on the centre of his life. You were very proud of him and rightly so. Ogie was the proud captain of the Monaghan minor team in 2018 which won the Ulster title in Armagh. He made his parents proud that day by delivering his victory speech entirely through Irish.

“He was selected as captain by the players in which 24 out of the 29-man squad voted for him. This was very significant because A North Monaghan player got so much massive support from the players of South Monaghan.

“He was the only player that ever played every minute of every match in the league and in the championship that year.

“A substitute on an opposing team was introduced in a league match let's say to limit or to restrict Ogie’s influence on the game, in other words take him out. But that substitute probably regretted his approach to Ogie and came out second best of that altercation.

“He was invited to join the under 20 panel and this year was selected as captain of the 2021 team. He didn't announce this and hardly even told his parents about it because Ogie was always so humble. All he would ever say was ‘I had a good enough game’. It was the only compliment he would give to himself.”

The funeral mass was followed by burial at St Joseph’s Old Cemetery, Latlurcan.

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