GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN The late Jason Morley.
Ballyhaunis in shock after sudden death of Jason Morley
BALLYHAUNIS was engulfed in a wave of sadness last week with the news of the death of Jason Morley, Laraganboy. Jason (37) took ill and died suddenly on Thursday morning. His wife Rebecca (nee Ganley) was with him at the time. It is understood that his passing was yet another case of what has become known as sudden adult death syndrome.
Jason was a prominent member of Ballyhaunis GAA club and was the regular midfielder on the senior team for several years where he played alongside Fergal Kelly. His brother Tony and father Tony both played senior football for Mayo.
A member of the staff of Murray’s Connaught Scaffolding, he was noted for his strength and expertise in his chosen field. Colleagues were stunned into disbelief when they heard the sad news.
Mike Webb, chairman of Ballyhaunis GAA Club, said the news came as a bombshell to all in the area. “It’s desperate sad. Jason was a quiet and unassuming lad who was very devoted to Ballyhaunis and the club. The news brought back a lot of memories to me about our own tragic day in 1976 when my brother Ted died in an accident. There was also the occasion when Tommy Moran died in an accident in September 1979.
“Our own club was superb with how they responded over the last few days. It was very moving and poignant. On behalf of the club, we would also like to thank our neighbours Aghamore and Eastern Gaels for their support and so many other sporting people and friends who rallied around.”
John Prenty, secretary of the Connacht Council of the GAA, said they were devastated when news came through of Jason’s death. “News of this nature is always terrible. The Morley family are synonymous with the GAA in Ballyhaunis and Mayo. It had shades of Cormac McAnallen all over again and we all know how that touched the hearts of so many all over the country. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to all the family at this tough time. Jason was a credit to the club.”
Bernie Waldron from Cave, Ballyhaunis, whose own brother Michael “The Minister” died in a tragic accident last year, said he had seen Jason come through the ranks of the club since he joined the U-10 panel. “Jason was a gifted footballer and his commitment was huge. He loved the Ballyhaunis jersey and the friendships he made over the years. He was fiercely loyal to his comrades and that was reflected in the vast turnout at the funeral.”
A measure of that respect could be gleaned from the fact that his colleague and friend of many years, Niall Kelly, came all the way from Australia to pay his respects.
As the cortege left Donnellan’s Funeral Home on Friday evening, a huge guard of honour flanked the hearse as it progressed along Clare Street and up Main Street. People stood at the corner of The Square and outside a number of premises along the route. Silence descended on the town and, though the sky was laden with dark wintry clouds, the rain stayed at bay until the guard of honour ended near the Tooraree road and the funeral proceeded to Bekan Church.
Fr Brendan McGuinness, PP, was the chief celebrant at the concelebrated Mass on Friday when an overflow congregation was again present in Bekan. Jason’s brother David delivered a touching and emotional tribute at the end of the Mass.
The cortege then proceeded back to Ballyhaunis where it was met a major guard of honour, led by Ballyhaunis GAA, beside where the old VS school once stood. A short detour was taken to Knox Street and the Morley family home from where the coffin, draped in the Ballyhaunis colours, was carried shoulder high all the way to Ballyhaunis Cemetery and Jason’s final resting place.
Jason is deeply regretted by his wife Rebecca, son Conor (4), parents Tony and Josie, brothers Tony and David, in-laws, relatives, neighbours and many friends.