Matty McGuigan: Vigil to be held for Kildress Wolfe Tones' 'shining light' after talented Tyrone GAA player's tragic death in Australia
It is understood that Matthew McGuigan, known as Matty, from Cookstown had only recently arrived in Sydney with his girlfriend Clodagh Corr.
A candlelight prayer vigil is to be held this evening (Monday) at Gortacladdy at 7pm.
His brother Darragh posted a tribute on social media.
"Forever young love you forever. Very grateful to have you as a brother for 27 years of my life don’t know how this has happpened or why I’ll never understand.”
Well known in GAA circles, Mattyhad been part of the County Minor squad and a captain of Kildress Wolfe Tones, who.described the shocking news of his death as “shattering”.
"Our club and parish are now dark places following the totally traumatising death of our so dear Matty McGuigan,” a spokesperson for the club said.
"Our shining light and captain on the field of play, Matty maintained those unrivalled standards off it. He managed underage teams, helped with events, sat on our Committee, represented our players, sold tickets across Ulster in our record-breaking draw, and even chaired the elections at last week's AGM. And all with the class, style, wisdom, good-naturedness, humour and integrity that others take decades to develop – if ever. Gifted with talent that he then carried so well.
"He brought our club, and everybody in it or associated with it, joy, delight, leadership, example, fun, and hard, hard work. Just the best of us.
"If you knew Matty, no profile of him is necessary. And if you didn’t know him, probably no profile is possible.
"Our heartbroken sympathy goes to Mel, Grainne, Darragh, Liam and Karol, to Clodagh, to our club president Matt Tracey, Colette and their family, to Matty’s brother-and-sister players, to all his many friends and colleagues from work and school, and to our fellow Gaels in Cookstown and Ardboe.”
All club activities within the Kildress club have been postponed until further notice as a mark of respect.
It is the second tragedy to hit the Kildress club in recent times.
In September nine-year-old Ronan Wilson, a youth team player with the club, died after a road traffic incident near Bundoran in Co Donegal.
And the club is also mourning the loss of former player and friend Gerry Mulgrew, described as “a member of one of Kildress’s strongest Gaelic families and is also part of that very special group of Kildress players, those who have won Tyrone Junior and Intermediate Championships”.
Tyrone GAA expressed “deep regret and profound sadness” on learning of the popular young player’s sudden passing.
"Matty represented Tyrone as a member of the County Minor squad in 2017 and since then had developed into one of the county’s most outstanding forwards with his club Kildress Wolfe Tones,” a Tyrone GAA spokesperson said.
"Matty's contributions to his team were nothing short of extraordinary, and his legacy as a player will forever be etched in the hearts of those who had the privilege of witnessing his prowess on the field.
"His commitment to the game and his unwavering spirit has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on Kildress Wolfe Tones and the broader community in Tyrone.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to the McGuigan and Treacy Families, to Matthew's partner and friends and to the entire Cill Dreasa club.”
After moving to Australia in recently, Matty had joined the Cormac McAnallen’s GAA club in Sydney, named after the former Tyrone captain who died tragically young in 2004.
“It is with a very heavy heart that Cormac McAnallens GAA has learned of the passing of our new member Matthew McGuigan, Kildress Wolf Tones.
"Matty had only recently arrived in Sydney with his girlfriend Clodagh, and in his short time spent here, had touched the lives of many that were fortunate enough to encountered him.
"Matty’s love for Gaelic football and his extreme talent was one of many qualities he was well known for. His commitment and dedication to the game was to be admired by many and we all were looking forward to him being our team mate and part of our club.
"Matthew will forever leave an imprint on the hearts of all those that knew him and his charming smile and kindness will be greatly missed.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to the McGuigan and Treacy Families, his partner Clodagh, to all his friends, and to all at Kildress Wolfe Tones.”