Massive numbers are expected today at the funeral of murdered rugby player Shane Geoghegan.
The popular 28-year-old was gunned down by Limerick’s warring gangsters on Sunday in a case of mistaken identity.
The requiem mass takes place at St Joseph’s Church in O’Connell Street at 11am, followed by burial in the Old Mungret Cemetery, in the suburbs of the city.
Mr Geoghegan’s shocked team-mates at Limerick’s historic Garryowen club described him as an honest and popular player who had friends across generations.
Eoghan Prendergast, Garryowen club secretary, said huge numbers were expected to attend today’s service.
“There will be a huge attendance. The main thing at the minute is just upset, anger will come afterwards. People are visibly upset by this,” Mr Prendergast said.
Mourners will be led by Mr Geoghegan’s parents, Tom and Mary, brother Anthony and girlfriend Jen.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen will be represented by his aide de camp Commandant Michael Treacy.
The Government will be represented by Defence Minister and Limerick TD Willie O’Dea, while a regional assistant commissioner will represent gardaí.
Members of Limerick City Council will also be there.
Mr Geoghegan’s team mates from Garryowen will form a guard of honour for the Funeral Mass.
The club will also host a private function in its clubhouse following the mass and burial for Mr Geoghegan’s family and friends.
In addition, Garryowen will have a special Mass at the clubhouse in Dooradoyle on Friday evening for Mr Geoghegan’s clubmates and friends.
The club also plans to retire Mr Geoghegan’s number three jersey for this season at all levels in the club as a mark of respect.
Yesterday Mr Cowen vowed no stone would be left unturned in the hunt for the killers.
Following crunch talks with the Taoiseach and Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, Garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy also pledged all garda resources would be brought to bear to catch the murderers.
Gardaí believe Mr Geoghegan was targeted by criminals who intended to kill one of their drug dealing rivals in the quiet Dooradoyle area of the city.
The popular rugby captain was shot dead after leaving a friend’s house where he spent the evening watching Ireland’s match against Canada on television, live from nearby Thomond Park.
Forty members of the notorious Limerick crime gangs are in custody at present, including gangsters from the Dundon-McCarthy group and their rivals in the Keane-Callopy’s.
A book of condolence, opened at Limerick City Hall, has received hundreds of messages of support from a community shocked by Mr Geoghegan’s brutal killing.
The Limerick Leader newspaper has also set up a special webpage with messages posted from people throughout Ireland and abroad.
One rugby team from Boston, who visited Limerick some time ago, also sent their sympathies to the family after finding out about the tragedy.
A minute's silence will be held prior to the international rugby game between Ireland and New Zealand at Croke Park on Saturday as a mark of respect, the IRFU has said.
Limerick soccer team Limerick 37 will also hold a minute’s silence at a game in Dublin on Saturday, with players set to wear black arm bands.