The home of Malin GAA club at Connolly Park an, inset, the late John Byrne
Communities in Malin, Inishowen, Bruckless, Killybegs and Kilcar are united in grief this week at the shock death of John Byrne.
The late John Byrne was a native of Bruckless but lived most of his adult life in the townland of Beaugha, Malin, where he settled and raised his family. He was 72 and he died suddenly on Monday evening.
He is survived by his loving wife Susan, daughters Celine, Ann Marie, and Grainne and son Jonathan, Martin and Lochlainn Boston, Charlie and Conor, Malin and Stephen, Dublin. And by his brothers Danny, Cathal, Seamus and Terence and sisters Margaret, Teresa, Marian and Dolores.
“We are just numb with grief,” said Pat McLaughlin (F) friend and Malin GAA club chairman. “John was a giant in this community, a GAA man, businessman and farmer and a great community man and friend. John was a great character and we will never see his like again.
“He was old school and a one off and he was a great GAA man and was one of the men along with David Gallagher and Pat McLaughlin (Rurstard) that built the club. And he was a proud man in Buncrana on Sunday when the senior team won promotion back up to Division 1. He shook my hand afterwards and he said we got all our decisions right.
“In fact he shook my hand twice on Sunday. I rushed away from Buncrana after the senior game because I was managing our U15 team in a final on Sunday night. We won the final and after the game I turned around to see who was one of the first men to shake my hand but John congratulated us on our win.
“I went home after the final because I was tired but I heard yesterday John joined the senior players in celebrating their promotion and bought them all a round of drinks. And he had started the day taking up the collection at mass. But that was typical of John; he was always on the go. He was the heart and soul of the community and we are going to miss him terribly.
“He was in the best of form on Sunday and he worked all day Monday doing deliveries and came home on Monday and felt unwell and sadly died shortly after. It is hard to take in that he is gone from us.
“On a personal level and from a club level I am going to miss him terribly. I have been chairman of the club for the last six years and John has been the club treasurer for as long as I can remember and he has been the rock in all his years involved with the club.”
John was also a great Donegal supporter and never missed a game and he was a proud man when Jonathan played in goal for the county minors in 1997, I think it was and when a few years later Charlie lined out for Donegal seniors.
His remains are reposing at his home in waked at his home in Beaugha and his funeral is on Thursday and he will be laid to rest after 11am mass in St Patrick's Church, Aughaclay, Malin, in the adjoining graveyard.
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