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GAA club paints mural in memory of Aaron Devlin

The mural under way on a wall at the new Aaron Devlin Pitch at Ballinderry GAC. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
 
Connla Young

A GAA club has painted a mural in memory of a player who died in tragic circumstances last year.

The mural has been painted on a wall close to where a new pitch will be built in honour of Ballinderry Shamrocks player Aaron Devlin.

The 23-year-old died last July just days after being struck down by a deadly form of meningitis.

His death devastated his family circle and members of the tight-knit Derry club which straddles the border with Tyrone.

Family and friends turned out in force last week for a special Mass to mark the first anniversary of the popular player’s untimely passing.

Work on the new Aaron Devlin Pitch has already started and club members are hopeful of having the state of the art 4G surface in place as soon as possible.

Earlier this month a fundraising golf tournament involving both past and present GAA stars proved to be a huge success.

The new mural has been painted on a skills wall which will be used by children from across the parish.

It is based on a picture by Irish News photographer Margaret McLaughlin taken at the final whistle of the senior championship final in 2012, which Ballinderry won.

Club spokesman Barry Mullan said the mural was “an appropriate gesture”.

He said the new pitch was also “a fitting tribute for Aaron as a long and lasting legacy".

“It hit our club very hard, the loss of Aaron, and he is never very far from our thoughts.

 Aaron Devlin celebrates at the final whistle of the 2012 Derry SFC final, in the photo that was used to paint the mural at Ballinderry

“We thought as a club we should be doing something and that’s where the idea came from.”

The Ballinderry man said the club wanted to create a permanent memorial.

“Hopefully we will leave something that everybody will be proud of in this parish and we want something the Devlin family will be proud of,” he said.

Ballinderry man Aaron Devlin in full flight

“We would think he is a great role model for youngsters.

"We hope this is not just something people can remember Aaron by, but we hope it can inspire other youngsters in the parish.”

The family of the late Aaron Devlin launching the new GAA Jersey in his memory at Ballinderry GAC last October. Included are Aaron's brothers Ronan and Coilin and sister Anna. Aaron's nickname is on back of the jersey. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 

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