palpable grief | 

Tyrone hurler Damian Casey remembered as 'person of integrity' at funeral mass

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 said
Family members, father Sean and sister Louise, walk through a Guard of Honour as they follow the coffin as it leaves St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone

Family members, father Sean and sister Louise, walk through a Guard of Honour as they follow the coffin as it leaves St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone

Mourners follow the coffin as it leaves St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, after the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Mourners follow the coffin as it leaves St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, after the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Family members, (left to right) father Sean, sister Louise, mother Susan and sister Catherine, walk through a Guard of Honour as they follow the coffin as it leaves St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, after the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Family members, (left to right) father Sean, sister Louise, mother Susan and sister Catherine, walk through a Guard of Honour as they follow the coffin as it leaves St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, after the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Francis Mooney

Damian Casey will be remembered as an exceptional hurler and a man of integrity and honour, mourners at the funeral of the 29-year-old Dungannon man were told on Sunday.

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.

Damian Casey

Damian Casey

“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.”

The Very Rev Dan Kevin Donaghy blesses the coffin as it arrives at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, for the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The Very Rev Dan Kevin Donaghy blesses the coffin as it arrives at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, for the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

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.

The cortege as it arrives at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, for the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The cortege as it arrives at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon, County Tyrone, for the funeral for GAA star Damian Casey, following the death of the Tyrone hurling captain was attending a friend's wedding in Spain when he died in an incident in a swimming pool last week. Picture date: Sunday June 26, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER Casey. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

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.


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