Twenty years ago today Paul McGirr died following an accidental collision as he played for Tyrone in the Ulster Minor Championship against Armagh in Healy Park, Omagh.
The stunned shock went far beyond Tyrone as we just couldn’t believe that someone so young, talented and full of life could be taken from us so suddenly and so simply. Paul was part of our ‘golden generation’ who went on to take Tyrone to heights of achievement and delight that we never thought we’d see.
Paul still has a resonance across Tyrone and far, far beyond as ‘The Spirit of Paul McGirr’ foundation continues to fundraise to invest heavily in the Parish of St Teresa, Lusaka, Zambia. A school, an enterprise centre and a sports academy are all now in place there and life is as a result so vastly better and hopeful for many, many people … people who previously really just about survived on the margins of life.
This Saturday cyclists supporting ‘The Spirit of Paul McGirr’ will visit every GAA Club in Tyrone to raise money for this life-changing work in Africa. They honour us all by coming. Let’s honour them – and Paul – in return by contributing strongly to their fundraising. Out of tragedy comes good.
‘D’imigh tú i mbláth na hóige: ar sholas na bhFlaitheas go raibh d’anam … you departed in the bloom of youth: may your soul be granted the light of heaven.’