Northern Ireland news

Memorial GAA jersey for young hurler who died last summer released to raise funds for campaign charity

SUDDEN DEATH: Michael McQuillan (23) with his mother Margaret
Seanín Graham

A MEMORIAL GAA jersey in honour of a talented young hurler who died last summer has been released to raise funds for a campaigning charity.

Michael McQuillan (23) who played for the successful Co Derry club Eoghan Rua, died suddenly last July at his family home in Portstewart.

The new jersey features his nickname 'Smicko' and all profits will go to the Anaphylaxis Campaign charity which raises awareness about the life-threatening allergic reaction.

Paying tribute to their "much loved and hugely missed club mate, brother and friend", Eoghan Rua said sales will help fund "vital training and knowledge" in schools and community groups on how to help someone who goes into anaphylactic shock.

All monies raised from the sale of the memorial jersey will go towards the Anaphylaxis Campaign

The condition occurs when someone has an severe reaction to food, insect bites, or certain medications.

There was a outpouring of tributes following the popular young man's death last year, with one former coach saying he had the "heart of a lion" while others spoke of his great sense of humour and acting ability.

Originally from Belfast and a former pupil of St Malachy's College, Michael and his older brother Joseph played for the Coleraine team from a young age.

Passionate about the game, he was also a GAA footballer and had a place on the Derry minors panel in his late teens.

His former University team, Ulster University Magee Hurling said he was a talented player with "great determination, heart and a never give up attitude."

"Smicko was a friend to everyone, with his infectious personality and an energetic sense of fun."

St Malachy's last year said their former pupil had "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."

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