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I will keep his spirit alive for our two boys, says partner of former GAA star Johnny Curran

Partner of former GAA star Johnny Curran pays tribute after his sudden death at 33


Caption: Johnny Curran with partner Clodagh Daly and sons Neasan and Darsai

Caption: Johnny Curran with partner Clodagh Daly and sons Neasan and Darsai

Caption: Johnny Curran with partner Clodagh Daly and sons Neasan and Darsai

The heartbroken girlfriend of former Tyrone goalkeeper Johnny Curran has paid a moving tribute to her 'amazing' partner, saying she will do everything to keep his beautiful spirit alive for their two young children.

Clodagh Daly (28) said she has been "completely broken into pieces" by the loss of Johnny, with whom she has two boys, Neasan (8) and Darsai (4).

The 33-year-old, who lived in Donaghmore, passed away after suddenly taking ill early on Sunday.

His funeral takes place today at the Church of the Holy Family, Platers Hill in Coalisland.

The popular father-of-two was part of the Tyrone GAA team that won the 2004 All-Ireland minor championship, and part of the 2008 senior squad that beat Kerry to lift the Sam Maguire.

He also played football for Dungannon Swifts, featuring in an Irish Cup semi-final in 2012.

In an emotional interview, Clodagh said Johnny's family and loved ones are "distraught" at his passing, with their sons just "broken" at the loss of their father.

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"We're just completely broken into pieces. The boys are just broken and everyone's just completely gobsmacked that he's gone. He was just the best person to everybody," she said.

"He did everything for everybody, no matter who they were. He would never have said no to anybody. The smile on his face all the time - he was the happiest person in the world."

She continued: "He just loved life and lived life to the best. He just adored us three. He told us every day how much he loved us, how happy he was.

"The oldest boy, Neasan, is just very upset, he's coming to me; 'I miss Daddy too, but I'm going to be strong for you, Mummy'."

Clodagh recalled the devastating moment when her partner became unwell at their home, revealing how he had just checked on his sons before returning to their bedroom.

"He just came into bed and he put his foot over and rubbed my foot and then his breathing was very, very bad and I jumped out of bed to get him around, and rang the ambulance within seconds of it happening," she added.

"Then that was just it, there was no coming back from it."

The 28-year-old explained that it was subsequently revealed that Johnny had artery disease, a condition which had been underlying and had gone undiagnosed.

"We don't know how long he had it but it's just been an underlying issue which has never been brought to our attention. It was never suspected at all," she said.

The mum-of-two added that as well as being a keen sportsman, Johnny was always in the gym, even though he had been waiting over a year for a operation for an injured knee.

"But he still got on with things, even though his knee was killing him. He would never complain, at all," she added.

Clodagh said it had been "love from day one" when they got together 10 years ago.

"We've never been apart. When he used to play for Tyrone he would have been on the phone, FaceTiming me, because we couldn't stand being apart from each other," she said.

Heartbreakingly, the couple had planned to get engaged on their 10th anniversary next year.

"We were to get engaged in June next year but obviously it's not going to happen," added Clodagh.

"We always talked about our wedding; bridesmaids, who was going to be groomsmen. We weren't finished having kids and our lives were to go on, and it's just been taken away from both of us."

She added that she had taken comfort from the outpouring of love and support from the community, including Johnny's clubs.

"The support everybody has been offering has been fantastic and I just hope that it continues. I just want to keep Johnny's spirit alive as much as I can," Clodagh added.

"I never want his name to fade away. There's just no comparison to him. There will never be another like him walking this earth again."

She revealed that Johnny, who ran his own barber shop, J's in Dungannon, went out of his way to fit in haircuts for a client who works in a hospital.

"Johnny would have lit up any room and he was absolutely loved by so many people," added Clodagh.

She urged anyone who may show the slightest sign of any underlying heart or artery problem to get checked out so other families are saved from heartbreak.

Asking for people to keep Johnny in their prayers, Clodagh said: "I love him and I'll never, ever forget him and I'll always keep his spirit alive for our two boys.

"He was my world, my everything. He was the most beautiful man I've ever seen."

Mr Curran is survived by Clodagh, his sons Neasan and Darsai, parents Alicia and Anthony, siblings Stevy and Louise, and wider family circle.

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