Ireland has been stunned by the untimely death of 22-year-old Niall Donohue, the Galway inter-county hurler, who was found dead at his Kilbecanty home, outside Gort, on Wednesday evening.
Dessie Farrell, Chief Executive, Gaelic Players Association (GPA) expressed his condolences to the Donohue family and all those grieving over the untimely death of Donohue. He added, “Niall’s passing is deeply distressing for everyone associated with him and we would urge anyone suffering distress to ensure that they seek help.”
Donohue, who would have celebrated his 23rd birthday on Friday, played right wing-back for club and county and featured prominently with the Galway seniors in last year’s All Ireland Senior Championship. He won an All-Ireland under-21 champion's medal with Galway in 2011.
Just last year in his player’s profile for the Galway Hurling Supporters Club Donohue said his dream of winning an All-Ireland Senior title was his best motivator.
He advised players to “train hard, even harder when things are going bad and you will get rewarded eventually.”
In a statement released in response to to Donohue's death GAA President Liam O’Neill said, “He carried himself with distinction on the field of play and was highly regarded as a promising hurler with a bright future.
“Our thoughts and prayers and those of the wider GAA membership are with his family and wide circle of friends at this most testing time.”
It is expected that the funeral will not take place until Donohue’s brother has flown home from Australia.
GAA, Sunday Game pundit, Cyril Farrell, told RTE's "Morning Ireland," "Galway will be at a standstill this weekend. I know it happens to a lot of families, but when it happens to one of your own, one that you know, it's hard to take.
"Everyone's in shock. It's unbelievable. The way life is going in our new world…he had a wide range of friends and he seemed to know everyone.”
The GPA works extensively within the GAA community to raise awareness about the importance of “mental health” and working in the community to ensure there’s an open and ongoing discussion about the topic. In recent years they have developed a partnership with Headstrong, the Centre for Youth Mental Health in Ireland, Pieta House, who work with those who have suicidal ideation, and the PIPS, suicide prevention organization in Northern Ireland among others. They also run a 24 hour hotline for those who wish to talk. For more information visit their site www.gaelicplayers.com.