Treasured memory: Catherine Danaher with the late Andrew O’Donoghue at their daughter Ava’s baptism
THE PARTNER of Andrew O’Donoghue, who was murdered in Murroe exactly a year ago this weekend, said “the pain never ends”.
A remembrance Mass will be said this Saturday in the Road Tramps motorcycle clubhouse where Andrew was gunned down on June 20, 2015.
Catherine Danaher, aged 42, from Cappamore, and Andrew, Lynwood Park, had been a couple since she was 18 and they have a teenage daughter, Ava.
“I actually know what a broken heart feels like. I never thought it could physically or emotionally happen but it is broken. I knew what real love was. I know that life goes on but my life actually ended the day he was killed,” said Catherine, who was speaking in Murroe where she, Andrew and Ava had built a home together.
Her mind keeps drifting back to the fateful day.
“All I wish is that I could have five more minutes with him, if I could go back and even have five more minutes of that day. I had put a pizza and chips in the oven as a treat. He got a call and said, ‘I’m just going up to the clubhouse, I’ll be back’. He never came back.
"I don't know if I said goodbye to him properly because I never saw him alive again. He was literally going down the road.
“When I went in to see him [in the morgue], the only part I recognised of him was the left hand side of his moustache - it would go up. Why would you do that to someone - shoot him at point blank range in the face?” asks Catherine.
A year and a half before he died, Andrew, who was aged 51, had a quadruple bypass.
“”After that he said to me ‘I’m brand new’. We had turned a page in our lives and were making all these plans. I was robbed of a lovely future. I look at elderly couples together and I was robbed of that. I’ve never been with anyone else. All I have is my lovely memories of him,” said Catherine.
While bikers are perceived to be big, tough men with beards and tattoos she says Andrew was a “gentle giant”.
“He was my rock, He was my life. He was quiet, lovable, kind and so gifted with his hands – he could make anything.
“His whole life was based around making me happy. If he saw me smiling he was happy. He was a wonderful provider for me and Ava,” said Catherine, who recalls when they started dating she had a hole in one of her boots and he went off to buy her a new pair. As well as the emotional struggle, the mum of one has had to survive on her disability allowance of just over €200.
However, the whole community of Murroe has rallied behind her.
“I cannot put it into words. I am overwhelmed by the support I have had from people. Every single person in Murroe genuinely cares about me. My neighbours have been brilliant. The local priests - Fr Loughlin Brennan and Fr Tom Ryan have called in for chats and the monks in Glenstal Abbey have been very good to me as well.
“The St Vincent de Paul have been a big help too. Everyone is looking out for me,” said Catherine.
A benefit night in Andrew’s memory organised by the Road Tramps and people in the parish paid for new windows and doors in the house. “Everybody has been so kind just like Andrew was,” she said.
Two men have been charged in connection with the fatal shooting and are awaiting trial.