The tight knit community of Magilligan fell silent on Wednesday to say a “sad and difficult goodbye” to their “true and loyal friend”, GAA player, Steven Deeney.
As Magilligan GAC members, dressed in club colours, formed a guard of honour outside the hilltop church of St. Aidan’s, family, friends, neighbours and GAA communities, local and further afield, packed the church to say farewell to the popular young brick layer who died last Thursday during a training session with his team mates from his beloved Saint Aidan’s, Magilligan GAC.
Parish Priest Fr. Frank O’Hagan spoke of the “untold shock and misery” Steven’s untimely death brought to his parents, Martin and Claire, and to his four sisters - Kerry, Nicola, Charlene and Lisa, his son Mason, and a great many others.
Fr O’Hagan said those also devastated by Steven’s death included his “team-mates and other club members who were with him in Limavady; to his work-mates, relations and friends who, like myself, heard the sad news as he lay in Coleraine Hospital; to Fr. James Devine, who, as a very young priest, would have been shocked by such an untimely event, and who was on-hand to administer the Last Rites, in obviously difficult circumstances; to the entire community of the parish of St. Aidan’s who knew Stephen so well”.
The congregation heard Steven described as a “doting dad” to Mason, and how he was known for his “legendary kindness”.
“Since last Thursday I don’t think that any of us has heard anything but kind and genuine words about Stephen; his friendliness – especially in this parish where he was so well known and loved,” said Fr. O’Hagan. “His kindness was legendary.
“Stephen was a kind and gentle big lad who would have done anything for you – all you had to do was ask. He was also a true and loyal friend to many and very close to a certain few. He was a very keen footballer and was totally dedicated to St. Aidan’s, even to the extent that he was wearing St. Aidan’s colours when he died.”
Fr. O’Hagan extended sincere sympathy to Steven’s family, friends and all who knew him, adding: “What we can be thankful for is the person that Stephen was and all that he meant to everyone who loved him, or who enjoyed his company, to all who appreciated his warmth and friendship.
“We know that he had a good and happy life doing what he did best – working hard, playing well, befriending more than well and, above all, being a good son and brother to his family, and a good and caring father to Mason, his son.”