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Thousands Bid Farewell to Cormac McAnallen

Filed under: News/Events - Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2004 @ 2:27 pm

Spirited young man was ‘a great lad’

CORMAC McAnallen’s grieving mother this week spoke poignantly about the son every mother would wish for.

Speaking from their home at Eglish, Cormac’s family paid tribute to the bright young star whose life was cut short by a rare viral infection.

Thousands of mourners are expected to line the rural roads of Eglish today (Friday) as a mark of respect for a “true sportsman who lived a packed life”.

Family, friends, neighbours, fellow GAA club representatives, work colleagues, students and dignitaries, will flock to Eglish to pay respects to a young man who was so highly thought of by everyone who came in contact with him.

Cormac McAnallen, who celebrated his 24th birthday on February 11, died in his bed on Tuesday morning from a rare viral infection in his heart.

Since his passing many hearts have been broken as news spread all over Ireland about Cormac’s passing.

Paying tribute to Cormac on Wednesday were his mother Bridget and father Brendan, who have lost a son who was so dear to them.
Bridget described Cormac as a son every mother would wish for.

“Cormac romanticised a lot. He had a great spirit and everyone around him was aware of that great spirit. He was a great child to have, to rear, to love. He could never be unkind because he was so caring. Surely he could get up to mischief like everyone else but it was harmless mischief. He was always so good and we all love him. He brought a lot of happiness into this house. We were all very proud of him,” she said.

Cormac’s father Brendan reiterated what Bridget said. “He loved sport from an early age. When he was about four-years-old he was watching an All-Ireland hurling final. Cork were playing. He was just lost in the TV watching it. His eyes were so wide. When Cork won the match Cormac went into the room and came out with a ball and a stick and dressed all in red. I asked him what was he doing and he said he was going to play hurling for Cork.

“Sport was his thing and he had so many honours. He loved his teams. There was never such a thing as an individual success, it was always a team effort as far as Cormac was concerned. I built goal posts out the back of the house when the boys were young and Cormac would constantly drag us out to play football with him. From a very early age he knew all of the basics.

President

“When I heard President Mary McAleese speak about him she summed him up brilliantly. She said he was the type of child every mother would dream about. He brought nothing but joy and pride into the family home,” said Brendan.

Cormac’s uncle Sean said no-one could say a bad word about him. He described him as “a good lad” who always had a plan.
“Cormac was a lad who was full of commitment and dedication. He was one of those guys who knew what he wanted and he would do anything to achieve his goals. If he knew he had a weakness, no matter in what field, he would strive to make it better. He was incredibly mature for his age. He took pressure as part of the job. He never appeared flustered at all. Everything he did was in his stride. He always believed there was room for improvement.

“Cormac, as everyone knows, was a very distinguished teacher. He was a very smart person. When he was nine-years-old he sat the 11 plus exam. When he was 17 years old he appeared on RTE’s Blackboard Jungle. He was captain and this would have been his first taste of success. He played in the Sigersons Cup on his 18th birthday and from then on it has been success after success,” said Sean.

His brother Donal also paid a loving tribute to a brother he thought so dearly of.
“Cormac was a great brother. He was a great son to mum and dad. Especially in the last few years both of us gained so much respect for each other as brothers. He was a great person. Cormac loved what he did. He used to try and drag me out to training for my own good. If anyone spoke negatively in his company he would always change it around to sound positive. He was brilliant. He was a very capable young man and he was just a good lad who was loved by everyone especially his fiancee Aisling.

“He and Aisling were very much looking forward to their future together. We all had a feeling they were going to announce wedding dates and things over the next while. It is so sad. I just hope everyone rallies around for Aisling. Cormac will be sorely missed,” said Donal.

Cormac died at his residence at Ballaghkilgevill, Brantry, Dungannon. He was dearly loved by his grieving parents, Bridget and Brendan, and by his loving brothers Donal and Fergus and his beloved fiancee Aisling.

Cormac was a past pupil of Derrylatinee Primary School and St Patrick’s Grammar School in Armagh. He taught in St Catherine’s Grammar School in Armagh.

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