Huge crowd pays last respects to daughter of Limerick GAA chairman

Norma Prendiville

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Norma Prendiville

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norma.prendiville@limerickleader.ie

Huge crowd pays last respects to daughter of Limerick GAA chairman

There was a big turnout at the funeral of Mary Cregan in Dromcollogher this Monday PICTURE: MARIE KEATING

“SHE taught us to be brave; she taught us to be strong; she taught us that life was for living.”

With these words, Máiréad Cregan paid tribute to her beloved sister, Mary who died last Thursday, following a recurrence of the brain tumour that was first diagnosed in 2016 when she was just 30.

Speaking to the huge congregation gathered in Dromcollogher for the funeral this Monday afternoon, Máiréad said Mary had a positive impact on everyone with her infectious personality and a truly unforgettable smile that lit up every room. She always challenged wrong-doing, she said and was a born nurse, full of kindness and compassion.

Earlier, their brother Tommy, said good-bye to Mary in a poem he wrote himself. He would he said, forever miss his best friend. “God picks big fighters to fight the big fights,” he said in tribute. And he thanked his parents, Limerick GAA county chairman and former TD and senator, John and Patsy, for the gift of such a wonderful sister.

Since Mary’s death last Thursday, thousands of people from the world of GAA and sport and from the world of politics as well as friends, colleagues and neighbours made their way to the Cregan home in Rowels, Meelin just over the Limerick border.

And up to 2000 people gathered at St Bartholomew’s Church this Monday for the Requiem Mass, concelebrated by Fr Frank O’Dea and nine other priests. In his homily, Fr O’Dea said Mary faced her illness with dignity, courage and strength, good humour and a positive attitude. “She was a woman of great joy,” he said and would be remembered, not in her illness and death, but for her kindness, her joy, her laughter and good humour and for her friendship.

In a ceremony shot through with love, grace and dignity, the congregation stood and clapped three times: for Tommy, for Máiréad, and for John’s last farewell, a rendition of “I did it my way”.

But the clapping was also for Mary, a woman who graced her world and will be remembered.

Mary is mourned by her parents, her brother and sister, sister in law Maura, partner Stephen, by her niece and nephews, her aunts, uncles, cousins, colleagues and friends.