Huge crowds attended the funeral of Tipperary hurler Dillon Quirke
The GAA has often been accused of being out of touch with reality and more interested in bolstering coffers than anything else - a rather cheap shot at an organsation which has its tentacles in each and every parish of the country.
Well, in one parish in Tipperary this week, the spirit and togetherness of the Association has come to the fore in the face of the worst kind of tragedy imaginable.
Clonoulty/Rossmore GAA club has been sending out its players for many decades battling for the pride of the parish, winning games, losing games, experiencing hurt and delight in equal measure.
But, on Friday evening last in Semple Stadium a very different hurt was visited upon them. Twenty four year old Dillon Quirke - their Tipperary star and captain of the club team - was taken from before their eyes as he succumbed to illness on the pitch.
The shocking image of medics trying to revive this tall, strong, athletic young man as his family and friends looked on in great distress is something that will live with those present for many years to come. This is not supposed to happen to fit athletes - our heroes and the ones our youngsters look up to.
But, sadly it does and did happen. Dillon Quirke passed away wearing the colours of Clonoulty/ Rossmore GAA club as the efforts to revive him failed. What a tragedy and loss to his family, his friends, his community, the game he loved and the Association of which he was so central to and proud of.
The GAA has rallied since and has once again proven to be one of the powerhouse community organisations so vital in our parishes. Support -emotional, physical and spiritual - has been offered to the bereaved, the grieving and all those who knew and respected Dillon Quirke and his family. They have been held in an embrace of compassion and consolation during these most difficult days.
Our sympathy goes to them all.
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