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Thousands Line Roads To Say Farewell

Filed under: News/Events - Posted on Tuesday, March 9th, 2004 @ 10:30 am

Cormac is gone but not forgotten

NORMAL life came to standstill as famous faces from the sporting world stood side by side with the small rural community of Eglish to recall the life of Cormac McAnallen.
Around 8,000 people converged on the village on Friday morning for the funeral of the 24-year-old who died last Tuesday from a rare viral condition of the heart.

The outpourings of grief contrasted vividly with the bright sunshine and happy memories of Mr McAnallen’s contribution to Tyrone GAA success since the mid-90s and his professional work as a teacher at St Catherine’s College, Armagh.

But it is the huge void left for his family and fiancee which were most poignantly expressed at the Requiem Mass, con-celebrated by Eglish Parish Priest, Fr Patrick Breslin, the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Sean Brady and Tyrone Assistant Manager, Fr Gerard McAleer.

“Cormac’s whole family is steeped in the celtic tradition and the tributes which have been paid to him have certainly been well-founded and deserved,” said Fr Breslin.

“He made a deep impact not only on all who knew him, but also on many others in counties throughout Ireland and further afield.

“Last year he was given the position of full-back on the Tyrone team and steadied up things in defence, and despite often being outnumbered, he gained possession and set up counter-attacks.

“He savoured the success of winning the Sam Maguire Cup with all the Tyrone support and especially the Eglish community, a community now in grief.

“His successes have been an inspiration to the gaelic footballers and camogie players of this area,” he added.

Mementoes from Mr McAnallen’s personal, sporting and professional life were presented as gifts during the Eucharist.

Heritage

They included the Allstar award he won last December, his engagement ring, a fiddle symbolising the heritage and culture of the McAnallen and O’Neill families and the coat of arms highlighting the strength of Mr McAnallen’s personality.

Expressing his sympathy to the McAnallen family and his fiancee, Ashlene, Most Rev Sean Brady, said Cormac had been naturally gifted in so many ways – intellectually, physically and emotionally – and had worked hard to develop his talents.

“Scripture tells us that it is not length of days, nor number of years that many life honourable or memorable. The true measure of greatness is the living of a good and sincere life,’ he said.

“Time and again Cormac inspired team-mates to strive for the good and the glory which they desired. Now his memory will burn brightly in the hearts of all who loved and admired him.

“The example of his all too short, but brilliant life, will be a light to very many others. It will inspire them to live so as to win the crown of eternal glory.”
Archbishop Brady said faith must be a consolation in these days of sorrow and sadness and remarked on how the Number 3 Tyrone jersey worn by Cormac recalled an earlier garment.

“I am speaking of the white baptismal gown which he wore in this Church of St Patrick, Eglish, on leap day, February 29 1980.
“On that day Cormac was brought here as an infant by his parents and godparents to receive Christian baptism. On that day the seed of Christian faith was sown – a faith which Cormac went on to practice and live.”

After tributes had been read Cormac’s County Derry fiancee Ashlene recited a poem she had written, as did an aunt of the footballer.

Cormac was laid to rest in the local cemetery as the breaking voice of GAA commentator, Michael O’Muicheatagight echoed over the loudspeakers with a rendition of the gaelic games poem ‘ My Soul.’ It was an evocative and emotional end.
All sectors of the life in Ireland were represented at Cormac’s funeral.

Political figures included Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and SDLP leader Mark Durkan.
Captain Sue Ramsbottom, representing President Mary McAleese, was in attendance as was the Republic’s sports minister, John Donaghue and permanent secretary Aideen McGinley from the office of NIO minister Angela Smith.

IFA president Jim Boyce and GAA president Sean Kelly were also joined by past presidents and officials from GAA clubs across Ireland including the Sigerson team of Queen’s University Belfast.

The Armagh senior team grieved too alongside their Tyrone counterparts, less than six months after facing each other in the All-Ireland final when Cormac helped Tyrone take the Same Maguire from the 2002 winners.

Gaels from Tyrone and Armagh then formed a guard of honour as the cortege passed and one of Ireland’s greatest footballers was laid to rest in the village which had nurtured his talent.

Cormac is gone but not forgotten

NORMAL life came to standstill as famous faces from the sporting world stood side by side with the small rural community of Eglish to recall the life of Cormac McAnallen.
Around 8,000 people converged on the village on Friday morning for the funeral of the 24-year-old who died last Tuesday from a rare viral condition of the heart.
The outpourings of grief contrasted vividly with the bright sunshine and happy memories of Mr McAnallen’s contribution to Tyrone GAA success since the mid-90s and his professional work as a teacher at St Catherine’s College, Armagh.

But it is the huge void left for his family and fiancee which were most poignantly expressed at the Requiem Mass, con-celebrated by Eglish Parish Priest, Fr Patrick Breslin, the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Sean Brady and Tyrone Assistant Manager, Fr Gerard McAleer.

“Cormac’s whole family is steeped in the celtic tradition and the tributes which have been paid to him have certainly been well-founded and deserved,” said Fr Breslin.

“He made a deep impact not only on all who knew him, but also on many others in counties throughout Ireland and further afield.

“Last year he was given the position of full-back on the Tyrone team and steadied up things in defence, and despite often being outnumbered, he gained possession and set up counter-attacks.

“He savoured the success of winning the Sam Maguire Cup with all the Tyrone support and especially the Eglish community, a community now in grief.

“His successes have been an inspiration to the gaelic footballers and camogie players of this area,” he added.

Mementoes from Mr McAnallen’s personal, sporting and professional life were presented as gifts during the Eucharist.

Heritage

They included the Allstar award he won last December, his engagement ring, a fiddle symbolising the heritage and culture of the McAnallen and O’Neill families and the coat of arms highlighting the strength of Mr McAnallen’s personality.

Expressing his sympathy to the McAnallen family and his fiancee, Ashlene, Most Rev Sean Brady, said Cormac had been naturally gifted in so many ways – intellectually, physically and emotionally – and had worked hard to develop his talents.
“Scripture tells us that it is not length of days, nor number of years that many life honourable or memorable. The true measure of greatness is the living of a good and sincere life,’ he said.

“Time and again Cormac inspired team-mates to strive for the good and the glory which they desired. Now his memory will burn brightly in the hearts of all who loved and admired him.

“The example of his all too short, but brilliant life, will be a light to very many others. It will inspire them to live so as to win the crown of eternal glory.”
Archbishop Brady said faith must be a consolation in these days of sorrow and sadness and remarked on how the Number 3 Tyrone jersey worn by Cormac recalled an earlier garment.

“I am speaking of the white baptismal gown which he wore in this Church of St Patrick, Eglish, on leap day, February 29 1980.

“On that day Cormac was brought here as an infant by his parents and godparents to receive Christian baptism. On that day the seed of Christian faith was sown – a faith which Cormac went on to practice and live.”

After tributes had been read Cormac’s County Derry fiancee Ashlene recited a poem she had written, as did an aunt of the footballer.

Cormac was laid to rest in the local cemetery as the breaking voice of GAA commentator, Michael O’Muicheatagight echoed over the loudspeakers with a rendition of the gaelic games poem ‘ My Soul.’ It was an evocative and emotional end.

All sectors of the life in Ireland were represented at Cormac’s funeral.

Political figures included Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

Captain Sue Ramsbottom, representing President Mary McAleese, was in attendance as was the Republic’s sports minister, John Donaghue and permanent secretary Aideen McGinley from the office of NIO minister Angela Smith.

IFA president Jim Boyce and GAA president Sean Kelly were also joined by past presidents and officials from GAA clubs across Ireland including the Sigerson team of Queen’s University Belfast.

The Armagh senior team grieved too alongside their Tyrone counterparts, less than six months after facing each other in the All-Ireland final when Cormac helped Tyrone take the Sam Maguire from the 2002 winners.

Gaels from Tyrone and Armagh then formed a guard of honour as the cortege passed and one of Ireland’s greatest footballers was laid to rest in the village which had nurtured his talent.

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