‘Steven was a gentleman’

The late Steven Deeney.
The late Steven Deeney.

The family of Magilligan GAA player Steven Deeney has spoken publicly in praise of the overwhelming support they’ve received since the loss of their “always happy” son, brother and father.

The 33-year-old died on Thursday evening during a training session with his Saint Aidan’s GAC team mates at the Roe Valley Leisure Centre in Limavady.

Steven’s family, friends and team mates will say their final goodbye to the popular young brick layer tomorrow when he will be laid to rest at St. Aidan’s chapel in Magilligan.

Steven’s younger sister, Nicola, said while the family still can’t take in the devastating loss, the family’s spirits have been lifted by the overwhelming support from people in Magilligan parish, and further afield.

Nicola said the countless stories told to the family about her “gentleman” brother, who was dad to toddler Mason, confirmed to the family what they already knew about Steven.

“Steven was a big man and he would have done anything, no matter what you asked. He would give you the shirt off his back. He was a gentleman,” said Nicola. “He doted on Mason and Mason was definitely a daddy’s boy.”

Steven was the only boy and second eldest child of a family of five. Nicola said parents Claire and Martin, and her sisters, Kerry, Charlene and Lisa, have found great comfort in the tributes paid to Steven.

“Steven was always happy, and friendly. He would speak to anyone. He was a good honest, trustworthy person. If there was something to be said, Steven would say it. That’s just how it was in our house,” said Nicola, who said her parents had found great solace in knowing Steven had touched the lives of so many people.

Nicola said the family wanted to thank the staff at Roe Valley Leisure Centre, paramedics and hospital staff who tried to save Steven’s life, as well as local clergy Fr. Frank O’Hagan and Fr. James Devine.

“We can’t thank them enough,” she said.

Nicola also gave particular thanks to Steven’s club mates at Saint Aidan’s, Magilligan GAC.

“To Steven they were his extended family, a big part of his life,” said Nicola. “When the boys came to the house on Saturday that really lifted mummy’s spirits; to know he had so many friends.

“They’ve been fantastic.”

Steven’s funeral will take place at 11am at St. Aidan’s chapel in Magilligan (tomorrow) Wednesday.