Tragic young footballer Patrick Dinsmore laid to rest
The GAA shirt belonging to young Patrick Dinsmore's was placed on the altar and alongside it lay a pair of football boots.
Just days after he collapsed and died during a Gaelic football match, the funeral Mass for the 16-year-old heard how he should have been celebrating his 17th birthday and exam results.
Instead, several hundred mourners, led by his parents Bernard and Deirdre, yesterday lined the streets before the Mass began at St Peter's Church in Newry, Co Down. Patrick, a defender for St Peter's, Warrenpoint, collapsed off the ball during a league game with Rostrevor on Sunday evening.
Medical staff at the ground rushed to the youngster's aid, but their attempts to revive him with a defibrillator were unsuccessful. School friends from St Colman's College, Newry, have been left devastated by Patrick's sudden death. A book of condolences has been set up at St Peter's club and others touched by the death have left messages of support for the Dinsmore family.
Canon Francis Brown, president of St Colman's College, concelebrated the funeral Mass alongside Canon John Kearney and five other priests. He spoke movingly about Patrick and how he had planned to return to school to study A-Levels in September.
"Today has been very sad, calm and dignified. The funeral service was a celebration of Patrick's short life and how much he had been able to put into this. His schoolmates sang hymns and there was a very touching rendition of a hymn by a relative of Patrick," he said.
"There was a lovely sense of peace at the Mass and the huge number of people gathered indicates how badly missed Patrick will be.
"His death has come as an awful shock. All the children and staff are heartbroken.
"He will be remembered as a great young man, who made a contribution to the school."
GAA president Christy Cooney was among dignitaries who attended the service. In a statement he said everyone was mourning the tragic death of the "extremely popular" boy.
He said the GAA's thoughts and prayers were with the Dinsmore family and Patrick's wide circle of friends.
"We offer the heartfelt condolences at this tragic time and hope that Patrick will remain in the memory of those who were lucky enough to know him for many years to come."
There will be a minute's silence before this Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final clash between Down and Kildare at Croke Park.
"Even if Down weren't involved, we would be doing that, but particularly with Down playing," said a spokesman for the GAA yesterday.
"It's a certainty that we will have a minute's silence."
Patrick will also be mentioned in the match programme, where Mr Cooney will pay tribute to him in his weekly message.
Meanwhile, the Cormac Trust, set up by Brendan and Bridget McAnallen following the death of their 24-year-old son in similar circumstances to Patrick said it was time for the Government to fund a cardiac screening programme.
Mrs McAnallen said she was "deeply touched" by the Dinsmore family's request for donations to be made to the trust in lieu of flowers.