The scene outside Sacred Heart Church in Dunlewey at the funeral of Mícheál Roarty
One of the largest crowds in living memory attended the funeral Mass of Mícheál Roarty under the shadow of a snow capped Errigal Mountain on Thursday morning.
Mr. Roarty (24), was one of the four men who lost their lives in Sunday night's fatal road collision near Gortahork.
A well known and extremely popular man, he played GAA with Gaoth Dobhair and football with Dunlewey Celtic. Former team-mates and officials from both clubs were among the large congregation.
A young man full of life
Father Brian Ó'Fearraigh said that today was a difficult day for all parishes, not least of all the small community of Dunlewey.
In a moving piece read out at the beginning of Mass, Mícheál was recalled as a young man full of life, full of joy and full of craic.
Among the items at the foot of the altar were the Ulster Club Senior Football Championship Cup and the Dr. Maguire Cup which were won in 2018 by Gaoth Dobhair.
Photos of a smiling Mícheál, better known as Roycee, also sat at the foot of the altar.
Father O Fearraigh spoke of how kind, joyful and open hearted Mícheál was. He referred to his life in sport and told the congregation that Mícheál was a team player who played shoulder to shoulder with other players.
"He has finished the game - the game of his life," Fr. O Ferraigh said.
He reminded those present that their game is yet to play and when the final whistle has blown that he was sure that Roycee will sitting waiting for them on the sideline.
He said that Mícheál had a great sense of humour, that he was kind and noble and that he would happily help those who needed it.
"He was a rascal too some might say - he was no angel at times but their was no badness in him," he said.
Father Ó'Fearraigh said that when Mícheál was at home, he would go to the kitchen, look into the fridge and despite it being full ask when the shopping was going to be done.
What makes the hardship harder to bear was the fact that Mícheál was taken so suddenly without warning, he said.
Mícheál's belief was strong and he had a statue of the Virgin Mary beside his bead, Rosary beads were also beside his bed and he wore his scapula.
Father Ó'Fearraigh said that Mícheál's strong belief in the Virgin Mary meant that she was with him during the final moments of his time here.
"He wouldn't swap places with us if he could," Father Ó'Fearraigh said.
He told the congregation to remember that this life is richer for their being in it.
"Your life is important never forget that. Mícheál lit a corner of our life for a short time. We are here to thank him and to thank Jesus for our having him. Mícheál is now on his final journey home," he said.
All four men who died in Sunday's road collision are being buried today. Earlier, the funeral took place in Gortahork of Shaun Harkin and on Thursday afternoon, the funerals will also take place of John Harley and Daniel Scott.
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