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Tyrone manager Michael McShane pays tribute to tragic hurler Damian Casey

Damian died following an accident in a swimming pool in Spain where he'd travelled to for a friend's wedding

Francis Mooney

Tyrone manager Michael McShane has paid an emotional tribute following the tragic death of star hurler Damian Casey, describing the 29-year-old as a magical hurler and an unbelievable ambassador for his county.

"We’re so deeply saddened. Everyone is just in total shock, and trying to process the news,” he said.

His heartbroken family and the GAA world are in mourning as a result of the sudden passing of a true icon of the game, the most gifted an influential player the county has ever produced.

Damian died following an accident at a swimming pool in Spain, he had travelled to attend the wedding of a friend.

“Damian was a magical hurler, he was a fabulous hurler. He represented Tyrone and was an unbelievable ambassador for them,” McShane added.

“But more than anything, Damian was an absolute gentleman to work with as a manager.

“He was one of life’s good guys, it was a pleasure to be in his company.”

McShane, who guided the Red Hands to the NHL Division Three title and to Nickey Rackard Cup success this season, with Casey as his star player, spoke of the joy he found in working with the ace attacker.

“He was so, so easy to manage. He always gives you everything that he can give you.

“But the biggest compliment that I can give him is that whenever Tyrone were in a spot of bother in a match, all you wanted was for the ball to be in Damian Casey’s hand, because you knew he would fix it.

“He just had that ability to conjure something up out of nothing. A fabulous hurler, a fabulous leader, but more than anything, an absolute gentleman.”

The Tyrone manager stressed that hurling is of secondary importance at this time of grief, and that Damian’s family must be central to everyone’s thoughts.

“My first thoughts are totally with Damian’s family, his mother and father, his two sisters. As heartbroken as we are, I can’t even start to imagine how they are feeling.

“It’s an awfully loss for his family, it’s an awful loss for Dungannon Hurling Club, and it’s an awful loss for Tyrone GAA and the whole GAA world.

“The world is a poorer place today without Damian.”

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