Former Tyrone hurler, Damian Casey.
Former Tyrone hurler, Damian Casey.

Extreme shock and sadness in Tyrone after Damian Casey's passing

By John Harrington

Tyrone footballer, Niall Morgan, says the whole county is shocked by the tragic death of gifted hurler Damian Casey, who passed suddenly away in Spain last Friday where he was due to be a groomsman at a friend’s wedding.

The 29-year-old was the star of Tyrone’s recent Nickey Rackard Cup success and over the course of his career scored 39 goals and 908 points in League and Championship action.

A fantastic hurler on the pitch, he was also renowned for being a gentleman off it. Morgan is from the same parish as Casey, and admits his passing has left everyone stunned.

“Such sad news,” said Morgan. “We got the news during club training. A couple of boys had to sit out for five to ten minutes to digest the news. I'm Edendork and Dungannon is a half a mile down the road, same parish, we'd be in a similar area.

“I wouldn't say that I'm a big buddy and I'm not going to try and make it out that I was, but I knew him and would speak to him on nights out. For such a high-profile person I never heard anybody say a bad word about them. Everybody looked up to him in Dungannon so much, he will be sadly missed.

“Nobody can comprehend it. It’s the unknown of everything. You realise now how precious life is; you have a lad going across to Spain to celebrate his friend's wedding and not coming home.

“That's the stark reality of it. It's scary to think how things can happen. Extreme shock and sadness at seeing a picture in the paper of his family at the vigil. You can tell by their faces that it hasn't sunk in yet. God knows how long it will take for it to sink in."

Tyrone might be a predominantly football county, but Casey was such a gifted hurler that even those with little more than a passing interest in the game knew he was something special.

"I'm not massive into hurling, we only have four clubs in Tyrone and they are not linked to any of the football club, but he is the one name that you always knew,” said Morgan.

“Whenever Tyrone hurlers were playing before us, you went out because you knew he was on the pitch and you wanted to watch him.

“He was extremely skilful, great physique, and obviously a brilliant leader in the squad for many years. It's going to be tough times ahead for the hurling in Tyrone.”