The incredible legacy of Tyrone hurler Damian Casey (29) who died after tragic swimming pool accident in Spain
The news broke in recent hours that Tyrone hurling legend Damian Casey tragically died while on holiday in Spain, at the tender age of 29.
t is understood Mr Casey was in Spain for a wedding where he was to be a groomsman.
He passed away following an accident at a swimming pool.
Mr Casey is considered Tyrone’s greatest hurler and he leaves behind a legacy that will be difficult to match.
A native of Dungannon, he played for the Eoghan Ruadh club and first line-out for the Tyrone seniors in 2012.
The full-forward started his county’s first game that season and amazingly he started every game for Tyrone since then – 100 outings in total. To put that into context, Galway hurling’s long-serving midfielder David Burke (32) will become his county’s record appearance maker with 63 outings, when they play against Cork later today.
Incredibly, in 100 appearances Damian Casey scored in every single game.
Last month Tyrone defeated Roscommon in the Nicky Rackard Cup final by five points. That day Mr Casey racked-up 14 of the team’s total of 1-21.
In the semi-final he scored an impressive 1-12, which also brought him over the 400 championship points mark.
In total the sharp-shooter racked up 39 goals and 908 points for Tyrone in league and championship action – or 1,025 points – during his decade of service.
Mr Casey’s record makes him one of the country’s most lethal forwards in recent years and his stats rival senior championship greats, including Cork’s Patrick Horgan who is the record scorer at senior level.
In fact Horgan’s point average per game stands at roughly 8.4 while, Damian Casey’s was 10.01 as of his last outing.
In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph last month, Mr Casey spoke humbly about being his county’s record scorer.
“I suppose I wouldn’t have thought much of it,” he said.
“I have been lucky enough in a sense. I have played through a few injuries, with the help of painkillers and injections and stuff.
“But I have been relatively lucky over the last 10 years where I have been relatively injury-free. And I have been on the frees for about eight of those 10 years as well, so that’s got the tally up a good bit too.”
He continued: “Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice record to have. But would I cut that in half to win here at the weekend? Of course you would.
“Certainly with being on the frees and that, I would expect the scoring percentages to be up. If they weren’t, I would be disappointed in myself in the sense that you need them to be going over.
“I would judge myself on scores from play and my overall involvement. With frees, they aren’t a given really, but I would expect them to be going over.”
Damian Casey represented Ireland several times against Scotland in the shinty internationals and he was a two-time GAA/GPA Champion 15 award winner.
He won two Tyrone Club Championships with Dungannon. He led his county to victory in the Nicky Rackard Cup on three occasions, and also won the Lory Meagher Cup and the Division 3A and 3B National Hurling Leagues.
News of his death has sent shockwaves through the GAA community.
In a statement confirming his tragic death Tyrone GAA said: “Heartbreak and grief can come in many forms but are especially cruel when brought about by the sudden death of someone young, talented, outgoing and in the prime of life.
“Accordingly, Gaelic Tyrone is totally shaken by the news of the tragic death of Damian Casey, a supreme hurler just now at the peak of his powers.”