Northern Ireland

‘He truly was the light of our lives’ - Portadown family’s tribute to young GAA player who died just days before his 19th birthday

Frank-James McCaffrey from Portadown passed away on Sunday just days before his 19th birthday. Picture: McCaffrey family

The family of a young GAA player from Co Armagh who died suddenly just days before his 19th birthday have spoken of their heartbreak and said he will be “profoundly missed”.

Frank-James McCaffrey from Portadown, passed away on Sunday, with many of the sports clubs he played for among those sending condolences to the family.

Requiem Mass will be held on Wednesday, on what would have been his birthday, at 12.30pm in St John the Baptist Church, Drumcree.

Survived by his parents Jean and Francis and sisters Haley and Rosa, his family told The Irish News: “Frank-James is already profoundly missed by his mummy, daddy, sisters, family and friends.

“He will forever be cherished as a handsome and charismatic young man with countless endearing and lovable qualities.

“He truly was the light of our lives, the heart of our family and we love him beyond belief.”

After sharing a picture of Frank-James lifting a trophy above his head as a young teenager, Tír na nÓg GFC said he had been affectionately known as “Frank the Tank” and said he was a formidable forward and a key player for their U-14 double championship winning and U-16.5 championship winning teams.

“Frank always had a smile and a twinkle in his eye and provided the craic on many an away day with his team,” they said.

“A laid-back lad with a kind soul, who did his talking on the pitch. Frank James, we will remember you fondly.”

Picture, Tír na nÓg GFC.

St Mary’s Youth Club, where Frank-James had been a member from primary school and throughout his teenage years, said: “His charming smile and bubbly personality were always present. He will be sorely missed.

“Thoughts and Prayers are with the family and friends of Frank at this difficult time.”

Many other messages of support for the McCaffrey family were posted on the Tír na nÓg GFC Facebook page, including one who described the young man as: “A fabulous talent on the pitch and a great character.”

A message from the Armagh fans Facebook page also described the loss as “absolutely heartbreaking.”

“RIP Frank James. Thoughts and prayers go to Frank’s family and friends at this sad time,” the post read.

Frank James McCaffrey RIP 🙏 The committee, members, players and coaches of Tír na nÓg are deeply saddened to learn of...

Posted by TírnanÓg GFC on Sunday, December 17, 2023