Praying for a funeral

It has been a tough week in Breaffy, in Castlebar and for everyone who knew and loved David Gavin.

And still we wait, hoping for news that we could never have imagined we would wish for.

We’re praying for David’s funeral, praying his body is found. Those are words none of us in Breaffy ever thought we’d utter but all that changed when the devastating news broke last Saturday morning that David was missing, feared drowned, after getting into difficulty in a lake in British Colombia, Canada.

It has been a traumatic few days since for everyone in Breaffy but, much more so, for David’s family, his girlfriend Ciara, and his many, many friends.

David was an outstanding footballer who played county minor and Under 21 and was a bedrock of Breaffy’s defence in recent years but his ability as a footballer is beside the point.

David was one of the nicest guys you could meet. You would do well to find anyone with a bad word to say about him. He was pleasant, a gentleman to his fingertips. One of life’s good guys that you consider yourself lucky to know. It is why we were all just stopped in our tracks last Saturday morning. Life suddenly felt so cruel, so unfair.

And what started as news that was difficult to comprehend, news that David had lost his life, has become harder still as the search for his body continues.

There have been some particularly tough times in recent days. When news emerged on Tuesday that the official underwater search at Kin Basket Lake was being stood down, that was devastating news for David’s family and friends at the scene and everyone at home.

But that same Tuesday evening, everyone’s hearts were lifted by the incredible response to a fundraising campaign set up by David’s friends in the ISSC club in Vancouver. We could scarcely believe it as money poured in from all over the world. The response was phenomenal. Now it stands at over $180,000 (over €120,000) and counting.

Along with being a spectacular show of support to the Gavin family, it also now becomes a vital help in enabling the search to continue.

Later today, the underwater research will resume. It has to be sourced privately and will not be cheap. Neither will the helicopter searches that will be needed. The search will continue, hopefully, until David is found. However, it is possible that more funding will be needed to continue the search and every single contribution makes it more and more likely that David will be found and can come home.

To those who have already contributed, everyone in Breaffy is extremely grateful. To those who might be able to contribute and would like to, any contribution would be hugely welcome. The fundraising link is here.

David’s parents Michael and Angela, his sister Aoife and girlfriend Ciara are in our thoughts all the time. How we as Breaffy GAA clubmates of David are feeling is nothing in comparison to their suffering.

We think too of David’s friends out in Canada, among them Paul Sweeney, another clubmate of ours in Breaffy who was with him at the time of the tragedy. Paul has done more than could be asked of anyone in the days since.

David’s friends from home, Mark Towey and Emmet Gill, were at the scene since Friday too, going there as soon as they heard. And all of those who are out there, family and friends, from home, and who David met in Vancouver, are in all of our thoughts. Enduring the long, indefinite search cannot be easy. We will forever be in their debt.

All associated with ISSC in Vancouver have been amazing. The spirit of the gael carries far and wide and never has that been more apparent than in recent days.

Last night (Wednesday) in Breaffy, the GAA club held a support Mass in the clubhouse. Hundreds filed through the doors to stand with David’s family, friends, teammates and clubmates. People who had felt helpless had an outlet to show their support and they came in their droves to stand with the family.

On-field rivalries were left to one side as clubmen and players from neighbouring clubs came too. Great gaels like Kiltane’s Richie Cosgrove and Lacken’s Charlie Collins travelled a long way to be there too.

It is at times like this that we see the best of people in this country.

The Mass was surreal in a way, like a wake without a body. But it was an opportunity for solidarity, for people to stand together, that nobody was alone in their suffering. It was cathartic.

We all left at the end of the night, with some saying ‘I’m sure I’ll see you again in the next few days’. We knew what that meant. We hope and pray it comes to pass.

Edwin McGreal is a clubmate of David Gavin’s at Breaffy GAA.

34 thoughts on “Praying for a funeral

  1. Beautifully written. Thoughts and prayers with all his family, friends and the Breaffy community.

  2. Hopefully the lad is found and can be laid to rest. Life is so fragile, all over in a minute with a simple wrong move.
    RIP.

  3. As a parent of a son of a similar age who has also gone to explore the world, I feel a huge sadness for the Gavin family. We hate to part with our children even for those short or long trips but are comforted by the fact that they are following a dream and are spreading their wings and gaining life experience. Nobody expects or deserves such a news to come to their door and yet here it is. I hope they have the strength to bear and endure the grief and I hope that David is found and brought back home to rest.

  4. A Dheis Dè ar a ainm Dïlís agus go mbeidh sé sna Flaitheas Árd anocht. Pain upon pain for the boys family. My prayers are with them and the broad Breaffy community. Ed’s words are a balm . Well done lad.

  5. I knew his father well at School, a lovely man, my thoughts and prayers are with the Gavin family at this time

  6. Heartfelt words for a heartbroken community.

    Difficult to find the words to convey anything other than disbelief, so I think Ed’s effort is all the more commendable.

  7. Very well written Edwin fair play to you. I know David’s parents and one of his uncles and no nicer people would you ever meet his dad Mick Gavin is one of the most decent and nicest people you could ever meet. I often wonder why do bad things happen to good people. Anyway I hope and pray that David is found soon and may God grant his family and friends and all in Breaffy GAA peace and comfort at this awful time.

  8. Ed. Beautifully written..All neighbours are heartbroken for all members of the Gavin family who are the most genuinely lovely peopleJust to let everyone know there will be a collection at half time in the Mayo Clare game to aid efforts to find David and bring him home.

  9. It’s just frightening how a moment can change the lives of the good people of the Breaffy GAA community, I can’t comprehend what his heartbroken sister and parents are going through. It’s just such an enormous tragedy in the lives of his family and I like all others look at my sons who are only a few years younger than him and pray that I will be fortunate enough to be spared a life changing event like this.
    I pray they find him and return him to his own soil and his people. Just so sad, may God help them.

  10. Times like this put the winning and loosing of football games into perspective. My thoughts are with David, his family, girlfriend, friends and all in Breaffy.

  11. God help David’s parents, sister, girlfriend and all of Breaffy community. Your in our prayers and praying especially that David gets back home to Breaffy to be with family and rest forever.

  12. As a neighbouring gael, it’s unreal what the Breaffy locality has had to put up with these last few months. Tragedy after tragedy, first the heartbraking loss of a young talented girl and now this! I cannot imagine what the family must be going through but Edwin, as always, you’ve penned a piece that reaches to the heart of the matter.
    Yes, we alll love the football and we all rant and rave here about tactics and selections and wides and refs etc, but, as much as we love all that, none of it matters a flying f##k when the harsh realities of life hit you straight in the face. Life is so tough a lot of the time that football is a release from our troubles and strife. Sadly there will be no release for Davids family and friends, both here and abroad.
    Hopefully he will be returned to his family and he can then rest in peace.

  13. Rest in Peace young man and may the Lord give the strength and courage to his parents and family at this very tragic and sad time in their lives.

  14. Desperately sad,. Didn’t know David personally, but know people closely connected to him, they could not possibly have spoken higher of him either.. Breaffy has more than its fair share of tragedy recently. I’m sure we all of us hold those who knew and loved David in our taught’s

  15. Edwin, beautiful sentiment, thank you. God bless and protect David, his family and friends! May God bring you all comfort. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers!!!

  16. That’s a very well written piece Ed. This is such a sad thing to happen. Hopefully his family, girlfriend, friends, teammates and community will get closure in the coming days. Prayers and thoughts are with them at this very tough time.

  17. heartfelt written there ed- fair play to you
    this is such a sad story,god love them,prayers and thoughts are with his family,girlfriend & wider circle of friends
    please god they get closure soon .

  18. Commiserations to the grieving family and friends of David Gavin at this very sad time. We know not what each day has in store for any of us.
    RIP.

  19. I knew his dad in national school many years ago. Very sad thoughts and prayers with the family

  20. May God be with David’s family and friends at such a tragic time, hope and pray he comes home to them.

  21. Beautiful words capture the sadness and paint a picture of a wonderful young man. Though I don’t know David or his family I feel a bond of love and sadness. As with all on this site and many more throughout the world I pray that David may be found and brought home to those who love him. May your hearts find some comfort in the love and concern of so many people.

  22. I hope the Gavin family get at least the small mercy of closure in their time of tragedy. All our thoughts are with them, his friends and the breaffy community.

  23. Thanks for your good wishes folks, hopefully the search will be successful. We’re all praying for that.

    Just to let ye know, there will be a bucket collection for the search fund at half-time in Ennis just so people who are at the game know what the collection is for and if ye are in a position to support it, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again.

  24. Such a tragedy. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache that all who are close to David are going through. I really hope he is found.

  25. My thoughts are with his family and all at Breaffy GAA club ; it’s seemingly so random who gets taken and who remains.

  26. When I saw that picture of Aidan outside the dressing room after the match( sportsfile I think ) my first thought was God he looks so sad , also the huge gash on his leg I didn’t realise his connection to the tragic event in Canada at the time now I know why 🙁 & the performance he put in looks even more heroic now can’t help feeling for him and all the Breafy crew how hard it must have been for them and will be again on Saturday 🙁 I’m going to shout extra loud & hope & pray they find David’s body …

  27. The pic you mention is here Livenhope – you’re right, it was one from Sportsfile. It was incredible that Aidan put in such a performance in the circumstances.

  28. Such a sad set of circumstances I did not know the young man but I know some of his fellow gales in Vancouver I was looking forward to meeting up with Ronan and his team on Saturday but God had other plans Rest in Peace fellow gale and my prayers are with his family and friends

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