Northern Ireland

Funeral of talented GAA player (23) to take place in Co Derry today

Michael McQuillan (23) with his mother Margaret
Michael McQuillan (23) with his mother Margaret

FAMILY and friends of young GAA player Michael McQuillan will gather in Co Derry today to say their final farewells following his sudden death.

The funeral for the 23-year-old, who played for Co Derry club Eoghan Rua, is due to take place in Portstewart.

Mr McQuillan is understood he became suddenly ill at his family home in Portstewart on Saturday.

Regarded as a talented GAA player, he played for the Coleraine team from a young age and had a place on the Derry minors panel in his late teens.

Originally from Belfast, he was a former pupil of St Malachy's College, which has described Mr McQuillan as an "endearing and kind person".

In a tribute posted online, it said: "All of us at St Malachy’s are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our distinguished former student Michael McQuillan who passed away on Saturday.

"Michael, in his years attending the college, touched the lives of all who came to know him.

"Both teachers and his peers benefited greatly from his gentle and good-humoured approach. His dedication to the extra-curricular life of the College was outstanding.

"Michael was heavily involved in sport and music, and he was also a very talented actor - even playing the role of principal (mafia-style) in the St Malachy’s College Christmas Sketch Show.

"Michael was such an endearing and kind person who was a dedicated Malachian and we know also to be a devoted and loving son and brother.

"The college family sends its condolences to his parents, Margaret and Paul, his brother Joseph and the wider family circle."

Eoghan Rua GAA club described Mr McQuillan as "an esteemed, popular and enthusiastic club mate with a great sense of fun".

"Smicko took a fierce pride in Eoghan Rua, and he was a passionate hurler playing his part in the club’s recent hurling campaigns in Ulster and the All Ireland series," it said in a post on social media.

"Michael will be sorely missed by his friends and his club mates."

Ulster University Magee Hurling also said Mr McQuillan was a "talented player with great determination, heart and a never give up attitude".

Requiem Mass is due to be held today at St Mary's Star of the Sea Church, Portstewart at 10am followed by burial at Milltown Cemetery.

Mr McQuillan is survived by his parents Margaret and Paul and brother of Joseph.