United in sorrow, shock and disbelief, a small community from Galway in solidarity with a young woman and her grieving family came together yesterday to say a final goodbye.
Here were harrowing scenes of agonizing grief as camogie player Kate Moran was laid to rest.
Friends, family and teammates of the adored 20 year old from Monivea, Co Galway huddled in stunned silence inside and outside Sacred Heart Church.
Kate Moran, a third-year commerce student at NUIG, died Tuesday after sustaining a fatal head injury during a Camogie League game between Athenry and Ardrahan on Monday.
Her father Cathal Moran, a former Galway hurler, told mourners at their funeral service that he was close to his daughter when she was injured following an accidental collision with another player.
As her uncles and boyfriend TJ Brennan slowly carried her coffin down the aisle, Kate’s parents, Cathal and Mary, and her siblings, Thady, Leah and Saoirse, clung to each other as they followed.
In a heartbreaking tribute, Mr Moran said he hoped Kate’s “beautiful and radiant light” had not suffered in her final moments.
“We hope Kate, our love, has not suffered much. When that happened to her, I think it was quick,” he said.
“Mary and I are so proud to be your parents Kate and we have loved you so much from the day you were born.
GAA players from Monivea, Athenry and Abbeyknockmoy lined the walk from Kate’s house to the church.
Mr Moran recalled his daughter always having “a kick in her step”. She was always busy.”
“So much has come together for her lately – she’s had so much beauty in her life. She had so many strings on the bow. She had so many friends from so many walks of life,” he said.
“And she loved to have fun.”
Mr Moran, who runs a successful auction house in Athenry, told the community he was proud to walk alongside his daughter when she accompanied him to work.
“Kate would occasionally come into the office with me and walk me down from the church parking lot to the office,” he said.
“That was a nice part of the day; I was so proud of her walking shoulder to shoulder with me through the streets of Athenry.
“We used to have a lot of fun in the office; neither of us wanted the phone to ring that often.
“She is 20 years old and would be 21 in a few weeks.
“Mary, her mother and Kate had planned a five-day break together in New York to celebrate this time. But unfortunately that day never came.”
Mr Moran said it was the everyday things, like his daughter offering him a cup of tea and her “beautiful smile” that he would miss the most.
“When Kate walked through the back door of our home, whether it was her coming home from work or training, we were so happy to see her beautiful smile.
“That was enough for us. It was everything we wanted.”
Cathal reached out to Kate’s friend TJ Brennan, a senior Galway hurler, and said he was so sorry his time with Kate was cut short.
“To TJ, Kate’s boyfriend, he’s been coming to our house for a few years now,” he said.
“We know she loved you TJ and she knew you loved her and you had a wonderful time. We are so sorry it fell short.
“She was terribly, terribly fond of you, TJ, and I’m sorry if I get in your way some nights.
“I know when I get home at night I’d ask you about the spin, and I’d take up a lot of your time,” he said.
“Mary and I and Kate’s sisters Leah and Saoirse and their brother Thady were so proud and privileged Kate to have you with us.
“You were such a sweet girl and the most beautiful girl.
“You are a radiant light and you always smiled. You were lovable to everyone, Kate, and it was very easy to love you.
‘That’s all we can do, Kate. There is no other choice; we have to let you go somewhere else, kate. We hope you are well and at peace and that you know that we are with you absolutely always.
“Because we could never do anything else, Kate, if it weren’t for you with us.
“And you know the love we had together, all of us.
“I don’t know how we’re going to deal with Kate, but we have to work something out together, the six of us.”
Cathal recalled his daughter’s talent and said he loved how she used to play hurling.
“She was a really lovely slingshot and I don’t mind saying that. We wouldn’t brag and Kate wouldn’t brag – maybe we could brag to each other – but not outside of that.
“She had beautiful wrists and I loved the way she hit the sliotar and got that kind of trajectory.
‘From all of us, Kate, I don’t know what to say; only you have given us the greatest joy and happiness.
“And I can’t believe we’re in this position; I can not. But the picture on the coffin there, we will always have that and Kate will always be with us.
“And we will always love Kate, and we want to thank Kate for being the beautiful girl she always is and will always be.”
Rev. Father Ronnie Boyle said the congregation had been “silenced in recent days by this unimaginable, horrible, unfortunate accident”.
“Since I found out about Kate’s death, I’ve probably thought of little else, like all of you,” he said.
“And the more I think about it, the less comprehensible Kate’s death might become, like all of you.
“Her death seems so utterly inappropriate; it violates our sense of order.
“For you as your parent, nothing becomes as indispensable as a child.
“From the moment Kate was born and you first held her in your arms and her tiny fingers wrapped around your heartstrings.
“And that they will be drawn away from you; the pain, the pain, the anger is indescribable.
“Even if we knew the answers, your pain would not be less and your grief would not be less,” he told her family.
“I ask you to remember a simple line: ‘Life is changed, not ended.
“As you walk away at the end of this day, remember: Kate’s life has changed, not ended.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/you-were-a-shining-light-well-always-love-you-kate-morans-fathers-tribute-41579243.html “You were a shining light. We’ll always love you’ – Kate Moran’s father’s tribute