Tyrone hurling star Damian Casey has died following a tragic swimming accident in Spain.
The 28-year-old Dungannon man, who played for Eoghan Ruadh, had travelled abroad to attend a wedding for one of his best friends and had an accident at a pool.
His death was confirmed on Friday night by Tyrone GAA, who described Mr Casey as a “supreme hurler just now at the peak of his powers”.
“This breaking news is beyond belief,” a shocked Tyrone County Chair Michael Kerr commented.
“Someone who brought honour, delight and simple, straightforward gladness to our whole County, and far beyond, is gone and it’s so hard to take in.
“There are very difficult days ahead for Sean, Susan, Louise and Catherine, for Damian’s wider family circle and many friends and associates, for his team-mates and for the Gaels of Dungannon and Tyrone.”
“Our deepest sympathy goes to them, and our focus must now be on providing the support and comfort that will be so badly needed.”
“Damian Casey was a special gift to Tyrone and to hurling. We were the richer for his presence and are the poorer for his passing.”
Ulster University Gaelic Academy posted: “The committee, players, members and alumni of Ulster University Gaelic Academy are profoundly saddened to learn of the tragic death of Damian, esteemed graduate of Ulster University and Fitzgibbon hurler.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to his father Sean his mother Susan his sisters Louise & Catherine we offer our sincere condolences to the entire family circle at this very sad time. Mary Queen of the Gael pray for him.”