GAA PRESIDENT LEADS SPORTING TRIBUTES TO BRAVE AARON DEVLIN
UACTHTARAN Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail has expressed his condolences on behalf of the Association to the family of Aaron Devlin on his tragic passing yesterday.today following a short and sudden illness.
Aaron died in Antrim Area Hospital yesterday afternoon six days after he was admitted.
The talented footballer had contracted a meningitis virus which ravaged his brain.
His tragic death as stunned the world of GAA football.
Aaron represented both his native county Derry and his home club Ballinderry with distinction and was highly regarded across his native county and further afield.
The GAA President said: “The tragic news of Aaron’s passing has shocked people right across the wider GAA family.
“He carried himself with distinction both on and off the field and the messages of support since he fell ill were indicative of the upstanding character that he was.
“A highly respected player, he was fit and in the prime of his life and so the loss is even more acute.
“On behalf of the Association as a whole, I would like to express my sympathies to the Devlin family and Aaron’s wide circle of friends and admirers.”
His death has also touched GAA players across Ireland.
In a statement, the Gaelic Players Association said: “Aaron was as a talented representative for his club, county and college and his loss will leave a terrible void in many lives.
“A bright life full of promise has been tragically extinguished.”
Gaeglgor and SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone has also expressed his sadness and sorrow at the passing of Aaron.
He said: “Aaron was a kind young man and dedicated athlete cherished by his club, friends and family.
“For him to pass a few short days after he was on the pitch, playing the game he loved is difficult to comprehend.
“It is always a shock when someone so young is taken from us but to lose a young man of such incredible talent and immeasurable promise is utterly devastating.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone in Ballinderry are with Aaron’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”
Aaron’s death has left his family and friends devastated.
In a moving tribute, his parents praised his courageous battle over the past six days and thanked him for “everything”.
“Following a characteristically hard-fought battle with a sudden illness, our son, brother and friend Aaron left us this afternoon.
“This has been an unimaginably tough and dark time for us – and will continue to be.
“The actions, words, prayers, kindness, and support from so many people has genuinely touched us.
“We may never be able to thank everyone for it, but please know that it has helped us realise just what an impact he made on this world in just 23 years. We have gained so much strength and pride from it.
“We now hope that the many memories Aaron has given us will help us through the challenge that we must now face together.
“Thanks Aaron, for the laughs, the tears, the smiles, the strength, the pride… for everything. Love, Mummy, Daddy, Ronan, Coilin, and Anna. X”.
Ballinderry Shamrocks posted the tragic news on Facebook, offering its condolences to the family and paying tribute to Aaron, who also represented Derry at senior, under-21 and minor level.
Ballinderry said: “It is with very deep sadness and sorrow that we announce the passing of Aaron Devlin this evening.
“Our deepest sympathy to Carmel, Eugene, Ronan, Coilin and Anna.
“From the first time you pulled the blue and white jersey over your shoulders Aaron you were one of us, you will always be one of us.
“I’m sure your passing into heaven this evening would have been no ordinary entrance, it would have been done #dookiestyle.
“Rest in peace Aaron,” his club said.