The tragic Tyrone star, who died suddenly while in Spain for a friend’s wedding, was the greatest exponent of the game the county had ever seen, Parish Priest Dean Kevin Donaghy told a packed St Patrick’s Church congregation.
“So much has been spoken and written about Damian.
“In all of his games as a hurler, he was never once sent off the field of play. That says a lot about his character and temperament,” said Dean Donaghy.
“He was a person of integrity and honour,” the parish priest told mourners.
“In his teenage years it was clear that Damian could have been every bit as good a footballer as he was a hurler.
“But you couldn’t do both, and Damian’s choice was the hurling.
“The speed and the skill, and the scoring drew this dynamic sportsman to the hurling code.”
St Patrick’s Church was packed to capacity as sympathisers from all over Ireland and further afield travelled to Tyrone to pay their respects and to grieve for Damian.
Those unable to access the church listened to the ceremony from outside.
The grief of a community was palpable on a sad yet proud day as the exploits of a star hurler and the humanity of a much-loved individual were commemorated.
The late Mr Casey was also fondly remembered as a cherished son of Sean and Susan, and a much loved brother of Louise and Catherine, as well as a true gentleman with a sense of humility which belied his star status as the greatest hurler Tyrone has ever produced.
Guards of honour were provided by the county hurling squad, and by members of Eoghan Ruadh Hurling Club, for whom he had performed with distinction for many years.
Damian’s remains arrived home from Spain on Thursday, with valuable assistance from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.
The family home at Eskra Road was visited by huge numbers of sympathisers during the wake on Friday and Saturday, with transport provided from the Eoghan Ruadh Hurling Club via a min-bus shuttle service, thanks to the efforts of around 200 volunteers, who carried out driving, stewarding and catering duties both at the club and at the home of the Casey family.