Northern Ireland news

Charity hurling match to remember life of Co Down GAA player on the first anniversary of his death

Clonduff GAC hurler Pearce Branagan

THE family of a Co Down GAA player are to host a charity hurling match to remember his "life and the impact he made on many" on the first anniversary of his death.

Clonduff GAC hurler Pearce Branagan died from a heart condition on June 23 last year.

The 23-year-old primary school teacher was described as "one of life's gentlemen who was only setting out on his path through life".

He passed away from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition his family said he was born with, but he had refused to allow it to define him. Shortly before he died he was part of the Clonduff team that won the Co Down seven-a-side hurling championship.

His mother Terri last night said they "wanted to do something to honour Pearce and show how much he was thought of" to mark the first anniversary of his passing.

The 'Pearce Branagan Memorial Day' will be held tomorrow at his beloved GAA club, Clonduff with a senior hurling sevens tournament and special junior hurling match to take place.

Funds raised to go to Cardiomyopathy UK and the Children's Heartbeat Trust.

"It has been a difficult year, but we feel this will be a lovely way of remembering Pearce," she said.

"He loved teaching and was really enjoying his time at St Malachy's Primary School in Kilcoo before he died. The first match will be St Malachy's versus Hilltown Primary School, which will be lovely.

"There are also memorial jerseys, which have sold out. We thought we would only sell about 100/150, but there's been 600 sold, which just shows how much he was thought of.

"Pearce was always about helping others and never thought of himself, even throughout his illness, he never let it faze him.

"There were very few knew about it, just us, his girlfriend and best friend - he didn't want to be treated differently, he just wanted to get on with his life.

"This will a way for everyone to remember how much he did for others and how lovely he was."

The Pearce Branagan Day will be held tomorrow at Clonduff GAC at 1.30pm.

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