A pall of gloom fell on the town of Carrick-on-Suir over the St Patrick’s Bank Holiday weekend following the tragic death in a car accident of a talented young hurler, who planned to start a new life in Australia later this year.
Twenty-three year-old Craig Walsh from 47 Mountain View, Ballylynch was laid to rest in St Mary’s Cemetery in Carrick-on-Suir yesterday (Tuesday) morning amid heartbreaking scenes of grief as his family and many friends gathered to say a final goodbye to the Swan Club hurling star.
St Nicholas Church in Carrick-on-Suir was packed to overflowing for the funeral Mass where celebrant Fr Richard Geoghegan told the congregation the community would be there to support Craig’s family in carrying the cross they had to bear.
Craig was killed when the BMW car he was driving was involved in a collision on a minor road at Lower Ballylynch, Carrick-on-Suir around 2.50am last Saturday. Gardai are investigating the single vehicle crash.
A garda spokesman said the car was travelling from the direction of Carrick-on-Suir and struck a stake. Craig Walsh was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was removed by ambulance to South Tipperary General Hospital. A male passenger in the car was uninjured.
The deceased, who was a welder by trade, had planned to move to Australia later this year with his girlfriend Laura. He had been working in Wexford for the last number of years.
His tragic death has deeply shocked and saddened the entire community in Carrick-on-Suir where his family are very well known.
The Swan Club, which Craig was a member of since he was a young child, cancelled all its games and activities over the weekend and pulled out of the town’s St Patrick’s Day Parade as a mark of respect.
Swan Club teammates of Craig’s carried his coffin from the Swan Club to St Nicholas Church on Monday evening and formed guards of honours as his remains were brought to the church and to the cemetery for burial. The Swan Club colours were placed on the coffin and a hurley and sliothar were among gifts brought to the altar at the Reqieum Mass.
In a statement, the Swan Club said an air of shock and great sadness descended upon the Club on Saturday morning when news came through of Craig’s death. The Club extended its deepest sympathy to his family and said he would be forever missed by all connected with the Swans.
“Craig was one of the Swan Club’s brightest, most likeable and talented players, who had progressed through the club from underage to senior level,” said the tribute.
“He excelled for the Club at all age groups including an U-21 ‘A’ County Final at just 16 years of age.
“He was a member of the 2004 County Minor winning team, captained by his brother Stephen, and also the 2010 South Senior Hurling Championship winning team.
“More recently, he won a South U-21 hurling title in 2011 and the County Junior ‘A’ Hurling League title last year,” the Swan Club added.
Craig, who was educated at Comeragh College, had also been a keen soccer player and played for Piltown AFC up to recently and previously played with the former Rock Rovers AFC.
Fr Geoghegan said Craig was known as a very selfless and giving person and his death was an awful tragedy that had left a pall of gloom over the town. On behalf of the people of St Nicholas Parish in Carrick-on-Suir, he extended sympathy to his grieving family and friends.
Craig is survived by his father Martin, mother Tina, brother Stephan, sisters Aisling and Aoife, his beloved nephews Jack and Charlie, girlfriend Laura, grandmother Maggie, other relatives and friends.