Aaron Devlin death stuns GAA community

An outpouring of condolences followed the news yesterday of the death of Derry and Ballinderry footballer Aaron Devlin.

Aaron Devlin death stuns GAA community

The 23-year-old passed away having contracted an aggressive strain of meningitis. He was admitted to hospital last Friday having come off 40 minutes into a club challenge against Dromore earlier in the week.

He explained he had felt tired.

In a statement yesterday, the Derry County Board paid their respects toDevlin: “The Derry GAA community is greatly saddened to learn of the untimely death of Aaron Devlin. It is difficult to comprehend the devastation that the Devlin family and the wider community of Ballinderry must be feeling at this time.

“This tragedy will be sorely felt throughout the Derry GAA family, and on behalf of all our players, officials and members, at home and abroad, we wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Aaron’s mother Carmel, father Eugene, sister Anna, and brothers Ronan and Coilin.

“We also offer all our condolences to the members of Aaron’s club, Ballinderry Shamrocks, his local community, his team-mates, and his many friends and colleagues. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.”

Devlin’s Ballinderry club, with whom he won four senior county titles and an Ulster SFC medal in 2013, confirmed the sad news via their Facebook page. They added: “From the first time you pulled the blue and white jersey over your shoulders Aaron you were one of us, you will always be one of us.

“I’m sure your passing into heaven this evening was no ordinary entrance, it would have been done #dookiestyle.”

In a statement, the Devlin family said: “Following a characteristically hard-fought battle with a sudden illness, our son, brother and friend Aaron has left us. This has been an unimaginably tough and dark time for us - and will continue to be.

“The actions, words, prayers, kindness, and support from so many people has genuinely touched us. We may never be able to thank everyone for it, but please know that it has helped us realise just what an impact he made on this world in just 23 years. We have gained so much strength and pride from it.

“We now hope that the many memories Aaron has given us will help us through the challenge that we must now face together.”

Devlin had played minor, U21 and senior for Derry, lining out for them in the Division 1 semi-final against Mayo. Local soccer clubs Coagh United, Cookstown Youth and Dungannon Swifts also expressed their condolences on social media yesterday evening.

Devlin, a physiotherapist in the Mid Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt, had studied in University of Ulster Jordanstown and their GAA club released a statement through their Facebook page.

“It is with a deep sense of sadness that we learn of the death of Aaron. UUJ has lost a player and a friend, a person who would light up every possible environment.

“A talented athlete, a character, a fun person always willing to help others. We consider it a total privilege to have known you Aaron and we are all the better for it. Ulster University Gaelic Academy extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Aaron.”

Derry-born West Bromwich Albion and Republic of Ireland player James McClean paid his respects on Twitter: “Devastating stuff this, thoughts and prayers with his family at this time.”

Former Ballinderry manager Adrian McGuckin tweeted: “The final whistle has blown for you @Aaron_Devlin but by God you had some game. Rest in Peace Aaron.”

Former Derry forward Paddy Bradley posted: “Sincere condolences to theDevlin family and all at @BallinderryGAC on the passing of Aaron. He will be sorely missed #RIP”

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