NIALL Morgan, goalkeeper with the Tyrone senior footballers, has paid a glowing tribute to county hurling star Damian Casey who passed away in tragic circumstances last Friday.
Tributes have poured in from across the country to the 29-year-old Dungannon man, who was arguably the best hurler the Red Hand County has ever produced, and Morgan has added his name to the list of people who have recognised Casey as a sportsman of extraordinary ability.
Morgan said: “We actually got the news during club training on Friday night and a couple of boys had to sit out for five or ten minutes to digest the news.
“I’m Edendork obviously, Dungannon’s the same parish – I wouldn’t say I’m a big buddy and I’m not going to make it out that I am but I’d have spoken to him on nights out.
“For such a high profile person I never heard anyone say a bad word about him, he’d no ego, no nothing. He was almost a protected species in Dungannon, everyone looked up to him so much and he’ll be very badly missed.
“I saw a picture of his family on the front of the paper the other day and you can tell by their faces that it hadn’t sunk in yet and god knows how long it will take to sink it, it’s extreme sadness.”
While Morgan admits he isn’t a hurling aficionado, he was well-aware of Casey’s talents.
“I’d be the first to say i’m not massively into hurling, we only have four senior clubs in Tyrone and they aren’t linked to the football clubs but he’s the one name you always knew.
“Whenever Tyrone hurlers were playing before us you went out to watch him because you knew he was on the pitch. He was extremely skilful, had a great physique and was a brilliant leader on the squad for many years, and it’s going to be a tough time ahead for the hurlers in Tyrone.”