A GAA community in mourning steels itself for Ulster final

The death of Monaghan under-20s captain Brendan Óg Ó Dufaigh struck the county’s heart

The coffin of Monaghan GAA U20 star Brendan Óg Duffy is taken into St McCartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan town, for his funeral on July 21st. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The coffin of Monaghan GAA U20 star Brendan Óg Duffy is taken into St McCartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan town, for his funeral on July 21st. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

By the Sunday night after Brendan Óg Ó Dufaigh died, his body still wasn’t home from hospital. The local machinery that guides a place through these things had long since kicked into gear, however, and the Monaghan Harps clubhouse on the edge of the town was the centre of operations. That had been the way of it since early on Saturday morning when club secretary Nicola Shalvey tied a black ribbon to the gates and laid a single wreath.

Nobody had declared the clubhouse the place to go. It just sort of happened. It’s down a lane off a square, folded in against the hill where the old St Davnet’s psychiatric hospital stands. Generations of Monaghan kids have put down Friday nights necking a few cans in the shadows up on the grass bank before spending their weekends togging out down on the pitch a couple of hundred yards away. Ógie was well fit to handle himself on either patch of grass.

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