Annagry witnessed one of the biggest and most poignant funerals ever in Donegal yesterday, as Conor Boyle of Loughanure was laid to rest.
There was widespread shock when 18-year-old Conor was injured in a car accident in London earlier this month and tremendous sadness when he lost his battle for life on September 20.
The multi-talented athlete had gone to London to work after completing his Leaving Cert at Rosses Community School last year.
Fr John, chief celebrant at the Funeral Mass, paid tribute to how, over the last weeks, “so many people, especially young people, poured out their love and prayers and poems for Conor”. One young person wrote: “Every so often, God takes away a special person.” An RCS student wrote such a touching poem that the family printed it on the back of the Mass leaflet.
Conor’s uncle Donal Boyle thanked everyone for their support, on behalf of Conor’s parents, Hugh and Sheila, his brothers Janes, Conor, Dara and Eoin and his grandparents. He spoke movingly of the “beautiful Guard of Honour for Conor’s final homecoming that will never be forgotten by anyone who witnessed it”.
As a child, he said, Conor was “a typical boy’s boy” and always “looked after his brothers”. He added: “We all have fabulous memories of Conor’s childhood and we couldn’t be anything but proud of how he grew into a man”.
Conor boxed for Rosses and Donegal, played Gaelic with Naomh Mhuire for twelve years, and also played football with Keadue Rovers and all of these were represented in the Guard of Honour. The gifts to the altar included Conor’s first pair of football boots, which he got when he was two years old, boxing gloves, a Naomh Mhuire Jersey and hair gel, reflecting Conor’s tremendous sense of style.
Conor’s uncle recalled Conor’s tremendous work ethic and great sense of humour, which made him universally popular. “Conor’s is final act was to donate his vital organs,” Donal said. “So, if you’re in the south of England and you see someone walking down the street with his Hollywood smile and a swagger like Jagger, it could be a bit of Conor.”