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Tributes to Newry dad Peter Turley who has died aged 33

By Angela Rainey

Published 09/02/2016

Tribute have been paid to Peter Turley.
Tribute have been paid to Peter Turley.

Tributes have been paid to a former GAA player whose death has left the sport in shock.

Condolences from stunned players and fans have flooded in to Newry Saval GAC for "gentle giant" Peter Turley who died on Sunday.

The popular 33-year-old father-of-two, from Sheepbridge in Newry, had previously played Gaelic football for Down.

He had also represented Abbey Grammar in the MacRory Cup and was named Ulster Colleges All-Star in 2001.

He went on to Queen's University, Belfast, where he played in consecutive Sigerson Cup finals in 2005 and 2006 before graduating from his engineering degree to gain a top job with building materials company Kingspan.

Lifelong family friend and chairman of Saval GAC, Adrian Savage, said the club and community is in deep shock. "He was such a lovely person, a gentle giant who was a very decent and civil fellow. It was clear from a young age that he was talented both in Gaelic football and in academia.

"He whizzed through his exams, he was very intelligent and he was a very talented player. I watched him play from a very young age and I knew then that he was special. He went on to play for his school and Down - he had a good career but was then injured in his late 20s. But he'd still call in to the club when he wasn't working - he was a very popular member at Saval," he said.

"We are all in deep shock, it's just a lot to take in. We are deeply saddened to hear of his passing, he was just very decent, liked by all and who will be missed by the club and the community."

Former team-mate Danny Hughes said: "He was a pure gentleman, a really fantastic fella. Everybody liked him - he didn't have one enemy and there wasn't a single bad bone in his body. He was just a good guy."

Gillian Fitzpatrick, the SDLP vice chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said: "The community has been left stunned, but the Saval community is a good community and it will rally around the family.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time."

Funeral Mass for Mr Turley will take place this Thursday, in St Colman's Church, Shinn, Newry, at noon.

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