A dark cloud was cast across Newport and the wider area on August 25 following the shock news of the tragic death of David Walsh, Derrykell, Newport, aged just 27.
David was born on December 28 1990, the eldest child of Brendan and Margaret. Everyone enjoyed him being the first grandson on both sides of the Lydon and Walsh families. He enjoyed the limelight until the arrival of his sister Ciara in 1999 and Chloe, the baby of the family in 2002.
David immediately assumed the role of doting big brother. David’s school years were spent in Holy Family National School, Newport, and later in Rice College, Westport, where he made many lifelong and loyal friends. David always opened two doors in any house, the front door and the fridge!
This obviously led to his love of food. Upon finishing his Leaving Cert, he went on to study Culinary Arts in GMIT in Galway, leading to his career as a chef. He worked in many local establishments and was currently employed for the past five years in the Clew Bay Hotel, Westport. He was famous for his beef stroganoff which went down a treat at family occasions. His summers were spent playing football with his cousins in Bunrower and his Christmases were spent with family, playing games of 25 cards. Football was always David’s main priority, which led to him joining Glenhest Rovers at the early age of 10, where he remained an ever present up until his untimely passing. David was also a Burrishoole GAA man, and represented the club on numerous occasions.
They say the measure of a man is how he interacts with the very young and the very old. This was very telling of David, for the time he gave to his younger cousins and most definitely for the time he gave to his grandparents. David always had a cheeky grin and a kind word for everyone that he met. He was a close family man who loved the craic around the kitchen table. David was taken from us far too soon. He will always be remembered for his quick-wit, kindness and uplifting presence.
The high esteem in which David was held was clearly shown in the huge crowds of people who turned out to pay their respects during his reposal at his family home and his requiem Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Newport, followed by burial in Burrishoole cemetery. A guard of honour was formed by neighbours, teammates and friends for David’s final journey home. During the days following his death, there was lots of great stories and memories exchanged. At the beginning of Mass, family and friends brought forward symbols of David’s life and his sister Ciara and cousin Roisin spoke about each symbol as it was being presented. His friend John and godchild Adam brought forward a football and his Number 4 Glenhest Rovers jersey; his cousins Shane and Cian brought forward his chef uniform and his culinary knife; his friend Jason brought forward a pack of cards; his friend Pat brought forward his Player’s Player of the Year Trophy; his sister Chloe brought forward a family photograph. The readings were by his godmother Breege and aunt Majella. Prayers of the Faithful were read by his cousins Rachael, Michelle, Aisling, Jamie, Alma and Eadaoin. The gifts were brought to the altar by his parents Brendan and Margaret. Eulogies were read by his godfather Padraig and teammate Chris. Suitable hymns and music were sung by Shelia, Cathal, Seán and the Newport Church Choir. David was carried shoulder high into and out of the church by his family and was carried shoulder high by his friends, teammates, neighbours, and family to his final resting place which had been beautifully prepared by his wonderful neighbours.
David is sadly missed by his heartbroken parents Brendan and Margaret (nee Lydon); sisters Ciara and Chloe; grandparents Michael and Margaret Lydon and granddad Paddy Walsh (Bunrower); aunts Breege, Anne, Majella, and Rita; uncles Padraig, Jimmy, Tommy, and Padraig; cousins; godson Adam, his extended family, neighbours and very wide circle of friends. David is predeceased by his granny Maureen Walsh.
The following is the eulogy teammate Chris delivered at David’s Funeral Mass.
“David, Dave, Davy or Walshy, as he was best known to his family, friends and the Mayo footballing community, was a footballer through and through and as his Mam Margaret said- he was a farmer for a short while, with wellies and all the gear. But it didn’t take him long to discard them at an early age for a pair of football boots and a Manchester United jersey.
“He joined Glenhest Rovers at the age of 10 years and it all started from there. He played for the clubs U-12 team initially and although he didn’t always start, he persevered. By the age of 18 things had changed, (according to teammate Kevin Keane) as Dave ‘had grown two foot overnight’ and he was quickly moved into the club’s senior team where he remained ever present since. Dave was also a Burrishoole man; he represented the club on numerous occasions from underage up to senior level. He claimed the West Mayo and County Title at Minor level, something that he was very proud of and a feat that he never let the Burrishoole lads forget about. It was however, at senior level with Glenhest where Dave excelled, going on to be made club captain for two successive seasons and claiming in total four ‘Player of the Year’ awards. Dave stood by the club in its time of need, in 2011 when struggling to field a senior team - Dave (along with others) rallied around, enlisting neighbours and friends - to ensure the club had a team for the season ahead. That year the club went on to win League and Cup double, going the full 20 games unbeaten where Dave had a starring role. It was however in 2015 when he achieved his proudest sporting feat, winning the Premier Division title in a play-off final at Milebush - where his parents, grandparents, and other family members (including his uncle Padraig who was a keen supporter of Dave and the club) watched on. Dave would end up being named on the Mayo League Team of the Year for his feats that season. Only six days before his tragic passing, Dave emphasised his importance to our team. 3-0 up in the first half against Achill Rovers, the Hest looked well on the way for the win. However, two quickfire goals had Achill back in the game. But not to be outdone, Davy strolled up the pitch in his usual laid back style and from a free kick, he rifled a volley past the goalkeeper and in the process, sealed the win for the Hest. That was nothing unusual for Walshy as he always delivered when we needed him the most. Dave always helped younger players on the pitch, the saying went ‘listen to Dave and you’ll be alright’ - by that it meant that Dave guided and encouraged players and when they listened, they learned. He loved togging out for the club and although he wasn’t the biggest fan of hard training (especially sprints, where rapid injuries would suddenly appear), you knew come match day, once he had the Number 4 on his back he would be ready to give it his all and he expected no less from his teammates. I sat down last night and wrote a list of words that described Dave as a footballer: consistent, reliable, dependable, trustworthy, honest, strong, loyal, courageous, caring and resilient. These are all wonderful qualities to possess as a footballer, there even more significant qualities to possess as a man. From Glenhest Rovers, ‘The Hesties’ - Walshy you will always be loved and never forgotten, forever our Number 4. Rest in peace buddy.”