Belfast Telegraph

As Clare McSorley is laid to rest young are urged to watch out for each other

By Brett Campbell

Mourners at the funeral of tragic Co Tyrone teenager Clare McSorley have been urged to look out for one another.

Monsignor Joseph Donnelly made the appeal as he addressed more than 1,000 people paying their last respects to the young GAA player on Saturday.

He said: "For young people I say particularly, listen out for one another. If there is a problem, lend a listening ear."

Clare (18), a talented Gaelic footballer, was found dead last Tuesday. Police have said her death was not suspicious

The death stunned the small rural community of Drumragh, near Omagh.

Monsignor Donnelly told those who had packed Omagh's Sacred Heart Church that the sadness of the occasion was in stark contrast to Clare's personality.

"She was respectful of all who knew her. She blossomed as a skilled player on the GAA field, playing for her club. For all her achievements, she had a care and attention for the younger members," he said.

Addressing the tragedy that had brought the congregation together, he added "there are questions as to why the tragedy had happened", and an old Celtic prayer was quoted to help console the grief-stricken: "Be not disturbed, be gentle with the one who walks with grief, if it is you, be gentle with yourself. Swiftly forgive, walk slowly, pause often, take time, be gentle as you walk with grief."

Referring to a memorial ceremony held at Drumragh Sarsfields clubhouse last Wednesday, the priest praised the local community for the support shown to the 18-year-old's heartbroken family.

He added: "There were many seats, and I thought if we fill that we've done well.

"They only held a fraction of those who were there. The people were lining both sides of the hall. It was a message of support for Clare and her family."

Monsignor Donnelly quoted an emotional tribute from Clare's father Tommy, which was made using social media last week, in which he urged people not to suffer in silence and to let others know how they feel.

Offertory gifts were brought forward by friends and family during the service, and a group of friends participated in singing and playing music throughout the Mass.

Applause broke out at the end of the service as the final lyrics of a Kodaline song - All I Want - faded out.

Clare's father was among the relatives who carried her white coffin from the church. Her sisters Ellen and Orla both sobbed as they followed the cortege.

Schoolfriends from Drumragh Integrated College formed a guard of honour at the doors of the church and players from Drumragh Sarsfields stood in the street outside as her body was carried out, to be taken to its final resting place.

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