Northern Ireland news

Tributes to Conal McKee who has died suddenly in the US

Dundrum Gaelic footballer Conal McKee who has died in Florida
By Staff Reporter

A Co Down Gaelic footballer who has died in Florida has been remembered as a "very talented" player and one whose loss will be felt throughout his community back home.

Father-of-one Conal McKee (26) from Dundrum had lived in the United States for the past three years.

He initially lived in New York before settling in Florida.

Before emigrating to the States, he played full back for Dundrum GAC, helping the club win the Down Junior Championship in 2012.

His parents still live in Dundrum and his brother Niall Rock plays for the village's senior Gaelic football team.

Chris Hazzard said Conal McKee was "energetic and fun". Picture by Mal McCann

Club chairman Mark Fitzsimons said Conal passed away suddenly on Saturday morning.

He described the deceased man, who was a former pupil of St Patrick's Grammar School in Downpatrick, as "one of our own".

"We as a club are devastated," Mr Fitzsimons said.

"We send our heartfelt condolences to his family at this most difficult time."

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard described Conal as a "energetic and fun" person.

"Conal was well liked and a very talented Gaelic footballer; he represented his community well," he said.

"This is devastating news for all those who knew Conal and know his family."

The South Down MP said he expected the community in Dundrum to rally around the deceased man's family.

"Everybody is shocked and saddened by Conal's passing but I know there is a determination in the community to ensure his family receives all the support they need at this terrible time," he said.

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