International rugby star Tadhg Furlong paid an emotional tribute to his father James at a packed funeral mass in Co Wexford on Saturday morning.
Tadhg recalled a larger than life character from the pulpit. He said his father – who he said was known as Suzie at New Ross Rugby Club – was a man of wit and humour, recalling his love of sport and first and foremost his deep love for his family.
Furlong described a ‘loveable rogue’, someone full of stories and life; someone ‘who danced to the sound of his own tune’.
He said his father had a big love for rugby.
“He generally had such a sharp eye and interest for the game. If you crossed paths with him, there aren’t many words I can say which describe him to you any better than the stories, memories or the things you’ve done with him throughout the years. To me my father was a larger-than-life character.
“A stoic man, a positive man, a man unbelievably comfortable in his own skin. He did so much for us and took such pride in us and all our pursuits. A man who brought Eoin and I up in the school of life, he was a real lovable rogue. If there was ever a backward route or tricky way of doing things, he’d find it. Be that by barter, favours or slipping you a stash of my training kits on the side.
“He was in full bloom after a few drinks, that glint in his eye and that hearty laugh. He was a pleasure to be around. He could hold court with the best of them and he could light up the room,” said Tadhg.
He continued: “Wherever I had gone, stories and yarns about him have always followed me. Father wasn’t always perfect, he had absolutely no idea what PC meant. He could cut you with his quick-wit and sharp comments, somehow he just always got away with it.
“His passing leaves a huge hole in our family’s lives. I think that’s only natural when a man of his personality passes. However, because of that very personality he is a husband, father and brother. He’s intertwined into all our hearts and all of our minds and the very being of the people he leaves behind.”
Tadhg’s brother Eoin read a short poem he wrote about his father’s life at Ballyvelig, Campile, thanking everyone for their support.
He reflected on the support the family have received in the week of their father’s death.
“Since Wednesday night when Daddy passed away, we as a family have been thrown over by the support we’ve received. From every corner of Ireland and beyond – all corners of the globe really. Over the past number of days some of our father’s old and newer friends, relatives and neighbours have given us unrivalled support.
“No task was too big and as daddy would have said “that shouldn’t be a problem”. My father was diagnosed with cancer this time last year and since then the staff of SVPH, Professor John Crown and Professor John Ryan, tried their very best to help him overcome his illness. However, despite their best efforts it wasn’t to be,” he said.
Both men received a sustained rounds of applause from the congregation after they spoke.
James passed away in St Vincent’s Dublin hospital on Tuesday night following an illness, bravely borne.
Prior to the service, the village of Campile and surrounding townslands turned out as James’s remains were brought through Campile village, where he once ran Furlong’s butcher shop. New Ross Rugby Club members stood as guards of honour as his remains were carried into the church by his sons and relatives.
Know locally as ‘Butcher’, James (64) battled cancer for around a year and throughout was supported by his family and medical teams.
Horeswood PP Fr Gerald O’Leary said people travelled from near and far to attend the wake and funeral, including from the world of rugby – with former Ireland captain Johnny Sexton among the mourners, there to support his former teammate.
Standing beside a Christmas tree, Fr O’Leary said James was: “A loving husband, father, brother, father-in-law, brother-in-law, nephew and friend. Death is always sad, no matter when it comes. But when it comes before it’s time – at the relatively young age of 64, it’s even more difficult.
“You could say that whenever someone we love dies, we die a little too. We know that life will never be exactly the same again; a familiar voice, a footstep, a smile, a shared
…. to be continued
Read full article at the Original Source
Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the linked Source : Independent.ie – https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/a-lovable-rogue-tadhg-furlong-pays-emotional-tribute-to-his-father-at-funeral-mass/a365654124.html