'good guy' | 

Irish soldier killed in Lebanon was set to marry ‘heartbroken’ fiancée next year

He died “three years to the day” of their first meeting, his partner Holly McConnellogue (22) revealed.

Private Seán Rooney.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

The heartbroken fiancée of Private Seán Rooney, the 23-year-old Irish soldier who was shot dead in Lebanon this week, has revealed they were set to marry next year.

He died “three years to the day” of their first meeting, Holly McConnellogue (22) has told The Irish Times.

"He was one of the good ones, as they say,” she revealed.

"He taught me so much about myself and about unconditional love. He really showed me what unconditional love is like."

Holly said her partner’s father also died young while serving in the Defence Forces.

Private Rooney was born in Dundalk though moved to Newtowncunningham in Donegal at the age of 12.

Those “very strong links” brought him to the Army four years ago.

“I’m absolutely heartbroken and it hasn’t sunk in yet that he’s gone, but I at least know that he died doing what he loved and serving his country,” Holly said.

“When the opportunity came up for him to go to Lebanon again, we were saving to be married, and he took that opportunity for us.

"He was so selfless and he wanted to help other people over there too.”

“Even though he’s gone, it was still worth it to have known him for these three years,” she said.

Her 24-year-old partner was on a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon when he was shot and killed late on Wednesday.

He was attempting to steer himself and three colleagues to safety after coming under fire on the way to Beirut.

Trooper Shane Kearney (23) remains in critical condition in the aftermath of the attack.

A mass attended by 300 people in his hometown of Killeagh, Co. Cork was held last night.

He joined the Defences Forces in October 2018.

Tributes to Private Seán Rooney, who has been described as “always smiling” by friends and colleagues, have continued to pour in.

"You had a bright future ahead of you,” one said while others paid their respects to the “absolute gentleman.”

"Absolutely devastated” family members have also shared their huge loss.

Dundalk club Na Piarsaigh/Blackrock have said: “We are shocked, saddened and heartbroken to hear of the tragic death of young Seán Rooney.

“The Rooney family are well known and the epitome of what our community stands for. We would like to offer them our support and sincere condolences during this very difficult time.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Natasha, grandparents Eugene and Rachel, uncle John, aunt Tara and uncle Eugene.

“Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dílis.”

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