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01 Oct 2022

Mother of slain Dylan McCarthy addresses funeral congregation saying local community 'have made this week bearable'

Congregation stand as one with Limerick mum who spoke at slain son's funeral

Kilmallock GAA players perform a guard of honour at the funeral of Dylan McCarthy

CHURCH bells were muffled, candles burned dimly and clouds hid the sun as a proud son of Kilmallock and Limerick was laid to rest this Sunday.

A week after Dylan McCarthy, aged 29, of Kilmallock was assaulted while socialising in Monasterevin, County Kildare his funeral Mass took place. His father Eamonn, who was also assaulted, was discharged from hospital so he could attend his only son’s final farewell.

Many stood outside SS. Peter and Paul's Church in the town which was full to capacity with those wishing to pay their respects.

Mother, Marita bravely did the first reading and spoke at the end of the Mass which was a celebration of Dylan’s life. The symbols of his life - Graeme Mulcahy’s three in-a-row Limerick jersey, a family picture of Dylan holding his nephew and godson Liam, a photo of Dylan with his dog Rex, a collage of photos with girlfriend Aoife, and a hurley - encapsulated a life well-lived. 

Marita said Dylan was a very proud Kilmallock person as are his family.

"We are so grateful and blown away by our community, especially the GAA for the guards of honour over the last few days. The candlelit vigil was so comforting and an example of why Kilmallock is the best place in Ireland and probably the world. Our neighbours in Gotoon, in particular, have been outstanding with their support, including delicious food, prayers and kind thoughts,” said Marita, who thanked the doctors, nurses, ambulance service, chaplaincy and staff of Tallaght Hospital for their professionalism and care of Dylan.

She said their kindness will "never be forgotten". Dylan’s organs were donated. Four people are receiving new life as a result. Marita also thanked the gardai.

As the moderator of the Kilmallock Church Facebook page Marita has a devout faith and thanked the priests, sacristan Hannah Costello and all those who prepared the church, for their kindness and support.

"They have made this week bearable. Thanks to Lisa Finn and Colette Connery Duggan for their wonderful singing and music adding so much to our Mass today. Thank you to Michael Daffy and staff for the advice, guidance and professionalism. We really appreciate all the messages of support from our church's Facebook page, on Messenger and Instagram, Mass cards, books of condolences and so many candles lit for Dylan and our families.

"And also all the people that travelled both today and last night and stood for long times outside of the funeral home - we are humbled by the sheer volume from all over Ireland. The McCarthy and O'Doherty families will never forget all you have done for us thank you so much," said Marita.

The congregation rose as one in solidarity with the bereft mum.

In his homily, Fr Pat Bluett said it never seems right that parents should lose a child. 

"We cannot but feel that God has got things in the wrong order," said Fr Bluett. He said Dylan’s death was a tragedy "for all concerned, a young life needlessly ended causing so much suffering, pain and grief to those who loved him so dearly". 

"It is a tragedy that we cannot make sense of," said Fr Bluett.

The McCarthy family had prepared a collection of memories for the retired priest.

"Dylan was a legend, well that's how he described himself and as you well know Dylan was never backward in coming forward. The dictionary of Merriman and Webster defined legend as a 'personal thing that is very famous for having special qualities and abilities'.

"What are the qualities of a good person - honest, patient, positive, thoughtful, forgiving, show gratitude and generosity, have good manners and show an interest in others. From talking to Dylan’s family and friends he was all of these and more. His generosity as an organ donor will live on in four organ recipients, as he’d say himself, 'My legend will still live on'," said Fr Bluett.

He said Dylan will be remembered as witty with a beautiful smile and so laid back he was horizontal until he got on the hurling field. 

"His laugh was loud and infectious. Dylan had a few loves in his life - his girlfriend Aoife, his friends, family, his little dog Rex and sport, in particular, hurling and especially Kilmallock and Limerick. He had many jerseys and his Limerick jersey was worn at the four Limerick All-Ireland hurling finals. He regarded it as a good luck charm," said Fr Bluett.

He told the congregation of Dylan’s excellence on the hurling, soccer and rugby pitches and his talent at playing racquetball.

"Dylan died on August 22 one year to the day when he and his dad went to see Limerick v Cork in the All-Ireland final.

"Graeme Mulcahy presented his three in-a-row All-Ireland winning jersey to Dylan’s family which was proudly brought to the altar as one of the symbols of his life - a fantastic gesture,” said Fr Bluett, who attended Tallaght Hospital to be with the McCarthy family.

"What I noticed most of all was their faith in practice, attendance at Mass in the beautiful hospital chapel; constant rotas at Dylan's bedside each day praying for him. At his passing Dylan was prayed into the next life.

"There was the dignity and courage of Dylan’s family, parents, sister and partner Aoife. Three different members of staff asked me about the family and where they drew their strength and courage from and how did they cope? One of the staff answered the question herself, 'Surely from a deep faith'. How does a mother stand and express her gratitude and thanks to members of hospital staff who had just informed her that her son had passed away? Those of you who know Marita know the answer," said Fr Bluett.

As Dylan’s coffin was shouldered down the church aisle Dreams by The Cranberries - so entwined with Limerick GAA success - was emotionally sung.

Dylan was laid to rest next to grandparents Jim and Peggy in Dromin cemetery. It would have been Peggy’s 89th birthday this Sunday.

May Dylan rest in peace.

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