Hundreds say goodbye to the ‘Roy Keane’ of Meath

Coach recalls Michael Leddy’s ‘quick and thunderous right foot’ at funeral Mass

Friends form a guard of honour as the cortege makes its way to the cemetery after the funeral of 15-year-old Michael (Mikey) Leddy who died last week in Lanzarote. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Friends form a guard of honour as the cortege makes its way to the cemetery after the funeral of 15-year-old Michael (Mikey) Leddy who died last week in Lanzarote. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

The talented 15-year-old footballer, who was tragically killed in a fall in Lanzarote last week, was affectionately known as “the Roy Keane of Meath”, mourners heard at his funeral Mass.

Hundreds of teenagers were among the huge congregation who turned out to say farewell to Michael (Mikey) Leddy at St Mary’s Church in Navan, Co Meath on Tuesday.

The teenager, who was given a guard of honour to the church by team-mates of both Navan O’Mahonys GAA Club and Johnstown FC, died last Tuesday after a fall in Puerto del Carmen where he was holidaying with his parents.

He was due to turn 16 next month.

Friends brought Mikey’s Gaelic and soccer club shirts as well as awards including top goal scorer 2017 in the Under 14 Premier League to the altar.

Mikey’s Johnstown FC soccer coach Ross Symonds read a poem about Mikey which remembered “the smile and twinkling eyes of its golden boy”.

The poem recalled Mikey’s “quick and thunderous right foot which was inventive and complete”.

A champion, Mikey would be with the club “forever in our heart and soul”, he read.

In his homily, celebrant Fr Louis Illah said the boy’s death had caused “pain, shock and grief” and left a community heartbroken.

“Mikey was a lovely, lovely talented young man, full of life and promise. He was best remembered for his broad smile and his emphatic performance in the field of sport.

“He was a multi-talented footballer who made his mark in Gaelic and soccer. He was dubbed the Roy Keane of Co Meath.”

‘Exceptional qualities’

Fr Illah said that whether Mikey wore the number 14 jersey of the O’Mahonys GAA Club, the number 18 of Drogheda United or the number 10 of Johnstown FC, he showed “exceptional qualities” and was a “stand-out player”.

“Mikey was renowned for his infectious presence, he was a huge bundle of joy who loved the craic, loved music and adventure. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He touched the lives of so many.”

He asked the congregation to “expand the frontiers of warmth, laughter, friendship, hard work and commitment that is associated with Mikey”.

On behalf of Mikey’s parents, Damien and Aisling, brothers Cody, Daniel and Jack and extended family, Fr Illah extended thanks to Canon Stan Evans of the hospital in Lanzarote for his “tremendous support” , the young people who organised and turned out at a balloon release in his memory in Navan last week and everyone for their messages of support.