Northern Ireland news

Greenvale Hotel victim Connor Currie's 'infectious smile warmed everyone's hearts', funeral told

Edendork GAC players huddle around the coffin of Connor Currie outside St Malachy's Church. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association
Mairead Holland and Digital Staff

Mourners at the funeral for Greenvale Hotel victim Connor Currie have heard how he "lit up a room as he entered it and his infectious smile warmed everyone's hearts."

Connor (16) died alongside 17-year-olds Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard as they queued for a disco with up to 400 other young people on the evening of March 17. Funerals for Morgan and Lauren took place earlier today.

Requiem Mass for the teenager from Mullaghmarget Road near Dungannon is being celebrated at St Malachy's Church in Edendork by Dungannon parish priest Fr Kevin Donaghy.

Fr Donaghy said: "In recent days Connor’s parents and close family have been greatly comforted by the good memories shared with them by Connor’s classmates and team-mates and teachers and friends.

"Friends have recalled how he lit up a room as he entered it and his infectious smile warmed everyone’s hearts."

Mourners pictured at the funeral of Connor Currie at St Malachy's Church, Edendork. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association 

Fr Donaghy continued: "Teachers remember him as a courteous and appreciative young student, always in the habit of saying thank you as he left the classroom  -  though he maybe let that be the passport that got him through an odd bit of mischief as well!

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"At home that 'thank you' was a constant habit as well  -  he always spoke those words as he left the kitchen table.  Unlike the usual reputation of teenage boys he was quite fussy about the tidiness of his room, the wardrobe hangers well used and clothes neatly folded in the drawer, no clutter in the room and everything in its place.  He knew he was loved at home – as his parents said to me 'he was a gem'.

"Away from home he was a star as well, a conscientious student who had his sights set on doing accountancy, the office desk and computer set-up in his bedroom a sure sign that he was preparing for a life of paperwork, computers and figures. 

"He was a star on the football field as well - the trophy brought up at the start of the Mass just one token of the commitment and skills he was developing."

Fr Donaghy described how Connor's friends had recently shared some videos with his parents of him dancing.

He said: "There’s always bits of a teenager’s life that the parents don’t get to see, so it has only been in the last few days that Connor’s friends shared with his parents some video shots on their phones of Connor practising his dance moves – and improving those skills as well."

Connor was a keen GAA fan, harbouring divided loyalties between fierce rivals Armagh and Tyrone at a recent cup final, the priest said.

"He recently went to the McKenna Cup Final with his Tyrone top on but before leaving he let his Armagh-born mother have a peep to see that he had an Armagh top on underneath the Tyrone one - Connor was going to be a winner either way."

The coffin arrives for the funeral of Connor Currie at St Malachy's Church, Edendork. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association 

Fr Donaghy added: "And a winner indeed he was: a winner of a loving family; a winner of many loyal friends and team-mates; a winner in school life and on the sports field - and a winner above all, of a place among the ranks of God's children."

Connor and Morgan were both pupils at St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon. Pupils from the school lined the path up to the church ahead of today's funeral.

Edendork GAC players formed a guard of honour at the church gates as Connor's remains arrived. The players formed a circle around the coffin, placing arms on each other's shoulders before Connor's family took their place behind his coffin.

Connor's three younger brothers were all wearing Edendork jerseys.

Edendork GAC players pictured with the coffin of Connor Currie outside St Malachy's Church. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association

Following his death, the club led tributes to Connor, describing how he would be "forever be remembered with the greatest affection".

Connor and Morgan were remembered by staff and pupils at an emotional prayer service in the school earlier this week.

In a death notice, Connor's parents Eamon and Ciara and three brothers paid tribute to a "loving son" and "much loved brother".

Connor Currie was one of the three teenagers who died in the tragedy

In a statement posted on social media, Edendork GAC said: "As a club and community, we are deeply saddened and devastated to hear of the tragic passing of our much loved and highly thought of player and member Connor Currie.

"To Eamon, Ciara, Sean, Cormac, Cahir and to the wider Currie and Kelly families, we convey our deepest and heartfelt sympathies.

"Connor will forever be remembered with the greatest affection by all associated with our club and indeed the wider Edendork community.

"We are all in shock at Connor’s untimely passing, to lose a dear friend and team mate is one of the most difficult life experiences you will have to face."

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