A 33-year-old GAA player has died suddenly during training with team mates in a leisure centre in Limavady.
Magilligan GAC has paid a heartfelt tribute to their player Steven Deeney who tragically died on Thursday night at around 9pm, describing him as “a gentleman”.
Saint Aidan’s Club chairman, Peter Mullan said the club and entire Magilligan community was in deep shock at the death of the young father-of-one, who was a brick layer by trade.
“We are totally shocked,” said. “Steven was the heart and soul of the club, and he was very active in anything that was going on in the club.
“He was a delight to have around and he was just full of life. It’s a great loss to the club and to everyone. He was a much loved and respected club member, and Steven will be sadly missed.”
Mr Mullan told the Derry Journal that on behalf of the club he offered sincere condolences to Steven’s family, friends, team mates and the entire St Aidan’s family.
Magilligan man, Paul Gaile is an ex-chairman of Saint Aidan’s GAC, and has known Steven “all my life”.
“The staff at the Leisure Centre and the paramedics did everything that could be done, but unfortunately it didn’t work out and Steven’s untimely death has devastated us all,” he said.
“I’ve known Steven all my life and he really was a genuine gentleman to work with. No matter what you would have asked him to do, he would do it. He was in England for a while with the building trade, but he would always come home and go to matches. The club was his life, and he was a big part of the club. It’s heartbreaking, but the name Steven Deeney will always be fondly remembered in Magilligan. He will be sorely missed.”
Mr Gaile had high praise for Limavady Council staff, paramedics and hospital staff who he said did everything they could to save Steven. Mr Gaile also thanked local priests, Fr. Frank O’Hagan and Fr. Devine for comforting those who were with Steven.
The Club’s Facebook page has been flooded with tributes expressing sadness and condolences, from people who knew Steven and from otjer GAA clubs.
A spokesman for Ulster GAA said the incident was being classed as a sudden death and the cause of death was not yet established.
“Ulster GAA were saddened to learn of the sudden death of Steven Deeney a player and member with St. Aidan’s Magilligan GAA,” he said. “Our condolences have been sent to the family and the Officers of the Club. Our Thoughts and Prayers are with Steven’s family and the entire Magilligan community at this difficult time.”