John McAreavey, the young Irish man who's wife Michaela, 27, was murdered whilst the pair were on their honeymoon almost a year ago, has paid tribute to his local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club and the role they have played in his life since the tragic event.
McAreavey, a member of the County Down club Tullylish, wrote a heartfelt tribute to the sports organization in the recently published Down Year Book.
Michaela, the daughter of the well known Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, was discovered dead in her hotel room on January 10 in Mauritius. The young couple had married just two weeks earlier.
In the tribute, reported by the Belfast Telegraph, McAreavey writes: "I have been able to experience the greatness of the organization that is the GAA much deeper than I would have ever wished to imagine.
"In a hopeless situation, the GAA stood tall and reached out to support one of their own. They have been great in treating me in exactly the same way as before the tragedy, with my teammates insisting that they will not spare me from the obligatory slanging and banter at training and at matches," he writes.
"At Tullylish, my fellow club members embraced Michaela as one of their own. They made her feel welcome and Michaela often remarked how she felt at home within our club. She really was excited about settling into my parish. For this reason alone, I will always be grateful to my club."
McAreavey acknowledged that the first anniversary of Michaela's death would be a hard road.
"I will continue to rely on my family and friends, my faith and my whole GAA network. I wish to thank all the people of Down and beyond for their support," he wrote.
Avanish Treebhoowoon, 29, and Sandip Moonea, 41, are due to stand trial in Mauritius next year for Michaela's murder.
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