Games off as Tyrone mourns Cormac

THE funeral of Tyrone captain Cormac McAnallen is to take place tomorrow.

The 24-year-old, who died of a rare viral infection of his heart earlier this week, will be buried after 11am Requiem Mass in St Patrick's Church, Eglish.

The cause of death was confirmed yesterday by blood tests after an initial post mortem examination on Tuesday proved inconclusive.

The condition is understood to affect just one in 100,000 people.

His body was returned to his family home yesterday afternoon from Craigavon Area Hospital.

Mourners continued to call at the McAnallen home in the rural townland of Brantry throughout the day to comfort his parents and two brothers.

The Sam Maguire Cup sat alongside the Dr McKenna Cup the first trophy the Allstar full-back had won as Tyrone senior captain.

A mini-bus from St Catherine's College in Armagh, where Mr McAnallen was a teacher, was one of a number of vehicles brought in to carry out a shuttle service for mourners along the narrow road leading to the McAnallen home, due to fears of traffic congestion.

Colleagues from the Eglish St Patrick's club acted as stewards, and will do so up to and during tomorrow's funeral, where a major logistical operation is planned to cope with the huge crowd expected.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Tyrone will seek permission to stand down the number-three jersey for the remainder of the season as a further mark of respect for their Allstar full-back.

Sunday's National Football League game has been postponed, but manager Mickey Harte confirmed that the game against Mayo on Sunday week will go ahead as scheduled.

All GAA activities in Tyrone have been suspended as a mark of respect.

A statement from Tyrone County Board said no activities, at either club or county level, will take place until next week.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and we know that the GAA family will be there for them, not just in these difficult days, but also in the weeks and months ahead," said a statement from PRO Brendan Harkin.

"On the occasion of the sad and untimely death of Cormac McAnallen, Coiste Chontae Thír Eoghain would like to express heartfelt sympathy to Cormac's parents Brendan and Brigid, his brothers Donal and Fergus and his fiancee Aisling.

"His death is a great personal loss to his family and friends," said Mr Harkin.

"As a member of the GAA, Cormac showed great loyalty to his club Eglish and Tír Eoghain as well as to the whole ethos of our association.

"His talents, his leadership qualities, his exemplary dedication and his personality and character earned for him the admiration and friendship of many."

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