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Tyrone hurling star Damian Casey dies aged 29

‘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.’

Tyrone hurler Damian Casey during this year's Nicky Rackard Cup final.
Tyrone hurler Damian Casey during this year's Nicky Rackard Cup final.
Image: Tom Maher/INPHO

THE GAA IS in mourning after the death of Tyrone hurling star Damian Casey, 29.

The Dungannon man passed away in a tragic swimming-pool accident in Spain on Friday. It’s understood he was in the country to attend a wedding at which he was due to be a groomsman.

Eoghan Ruadh forward Casey was widely regarded as Tyrone’s greatest hurler of all time. He top scored in last month’s Nicky Rackard Cup final victory over Roscommon at Croke Park with 0-14 (nine frees, two 65′s and three from play).

That was Casey’s 40th championship appearance for Tyrone, and he boasted the remarkable record of scoring in every one of them.

Indeed, across all competitions, Casey started and scored in every one of Tyrone’s 101 fixtures since his senior inter-county bow in 2012, amassing an overall tally of 39 goals and 908 points — or 1,025 total points.

Casey also won four county hurling championships with Eoghan Ruadh.

A statement released by Tyrone GAA read: “Heartbreak and grief can come in many forms but are especially cruel when brought about by the sudden death of someone young, talented, outgoing and in the prime of life.

“Accordingly, Gaelic Tyrone is totally shaken by the news of the tragic death of Damian Casey, a supreme hurler just now at the peak of his powers.

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“‘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,” the statement continued.

“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.

“D’imigh tú i mbláth na hóige, ar Sholas na bhFlaitheas go raibh d’anam | You departed in the bloom of youth, may your soul be granted the Light of Heaven.”

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