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Clonduff GAC dedicates championship title win to Pearce Branagan

Clonduff GAC hurler Pearce Branagan died suddenly in June
Connla Young

A COUNTY Down GAA club has dedicated a championship title win to a former player who died suddenly earlier this year.

Clonduff GAC paid the emotional tribute to former player Pearce Branagan who died from a suspected heart attack while visiting the home of his girlfriend Ellen McCrilly near the Moy in Co Tyrone in June.

Before his untimely death the 23-year-old trainee teacher was a key member of the Clonduff hurling team.

His former teammates beat Newry Shamrocks by one point to lift the Down junior hurling championship title yesterday in Newcastle in a win they later said was for Pearce.

Mr Branagan’s family, who were in Newcastle yesterday, are well known in local GAA circles and his brother Lorcan, who also plays football for the Hilltown club, lined out at corner back in yesterday’s game.

After the game Clonduff captain Sean Downey invited Ms McCrilly to lift the cup.

Ellen McCrilly holds the Co Down junior hurling title with winning Clonduff captain Sean Downey

In his acceptance speech he said: “This year we pulled together really well as a team and we did it for Pearce.”

Club secretary Anita Brannigan praised the efforts of her clubmen.

“I just think it’s an amazing achievement for these lads for the very hard year they had,” she said.

“They went into this big underdogs but they did have an extra man on the field with them.”

“It’s a very proud day for our club but it’s got to be very emotional for everybody.”

Mr Branagan had been working as a temporary teacher at St Malachy’s Primary School in Kilcoo and had been awaiting news of a permanent teaching job when he passed away.

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