Last weekend, I think it was, when there was a news report of the sudden death of a young man from County Sligo, Red Óg Murphy.
It was reported as ‘sudden’ or ‘unexpected’ but when a fit, healthy, athletic young man like this lad-and I saw the photographs of him playing football for Sligo and read of his exploits in the Sigerson Cup competition-dies at the age of 21 you cannot help wondering what the cause of death was.
And, of course, there is always the suspicion of suicide.
In today’s paper it appears that it was suicide for the funeral mass had the priest encouraging young people to seek help if they felt bad and to confide in their friends.
This is a shocking, sad case no matter what the cause of death. And one that has a particular resonance for me due to some random, unrelated facts of the young man’s life.
He was a keen GAA man, had red hair (my father used to call me ‘the red lad’ when I was young and had hair), and was in teacher training college in Dublin. My own daughter, Lisa, went to teacher training in St. Pat’s Drumcondra and to DCU and Red Óg was in the same boat, I understand.
When you see the ordinary, everyday facts like these bearing such a similarity to facts I can relate to in my own life and those of my kids it really hits home and is immensely sad.
I do not know how his parents or girlfriend will get over this. I simply don’t and do not think I could overcome such an event in my life.
My heart and prayer go out to them this Saturday morning.
Red Óg Murphy, RIP.