Belfast Telegraph

Tributes to GAA stalwart killed in workplace tragedy

By David Young

A well-known figure in Fermanagh GAA circles has died tragically in a workplace accident.

He was named locally as Damian McGovern, a married father-of-four from Derrygonnelly.

Emergency services were called to the scene at Ely Lodge near Enniskillen yesterday morning, where the accident took place.

Mr McGovern, who was in his mid-40s, was taken to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, but later died of his injuries.

He worked as an undertaker in Derrygonnelly and was deeply involved in the life of his local GAA team, Derrygonelly Harps.

He was married to Leeanne and had four children - Gavin, Rian, Ronan and Niamh.

Councillor for Erne West, Alex Baird, said: "This is an absolute tragedy. I want to send my sincerest condolences to the McGovern family.

"I didn't know Mr McGovern personally, but I knew him by reputation as a well-respected and upstanding member of the community." It's the second tragedy to hit the McGovern family this year, according to local sources. Mr McGovern's wife Leeanne lost her mother to cancer just a few months ago.

Derrygonnelly Harps spokesman Brendan Rasdale paid tribute to Mr McGovern last night.

He said: "We are just numb at the minute because we have lost one of our absolute driving forces. He was a great force in our community, and had immense generosity of spirit.

"There was just such warmth about him. We're all devastated."

In a statement, Fermanagh GAA said: "We extend our deepest sympathy to Damian's wife Leeanne and children, as well as the entire McGovern and McGinley families.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all at the Derrygonnelly Harps club at this extremely difficult time and as they try to come to terms with this huge loss."

Pauric McGurn, county board spokesman and a Derrygonnelly clubmate, said: "This is a real shock.

"I was just talking to a few men around the club and they were on their way to the hospital.

"Everyone loved him. He was the first man who came up with the idea of a Junior B team. He was the founder of the team, he just loved football and getting boys' games."

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland said it was investigating the circumstances of the death.

Ely Lodge, on the southern shore of Lower Lough Erne, was formerly the Ulster seat of the 5th Duke and Duchess of Westminster.

Tomorrow's Fermanagh county football final between Roslea Shamrocks and Derrygonnelly Harps has been called off as a mark of respect.

It has been rescheduled to take place next Sunday.

Belfast Telegraph


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