Tributes have been paid to a ‘talented’ and ‘compassionate’ former Clonmore man who has died suddenly in northern France.
Emmett McNally, who was 45, suffered a brain aneurysm and was found on Friday at his home in Chantilly.
Married and with two children, Emmett had just been embarking on plans to expand his successful recycling plant business when he died.
A past pupil of Clintyclay Primary School and St Patrick’s Academy, where he excelled academically and at cross-country running, Emmett was also a former GAA player for his club.
Family and friends have spoken of their shock and the sense of a great loss his passing has left.
His family, including his mother Deirdre and brother Ciaran, flew to France at the weekend after receiving the tragic news and are being assisted by the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust with plans to bring Emmett’s remains home.
A former player for Clonmore Robert Emmets GFC, the club held a minute’s silence in his memory before a game on Monday.
Having spent time in Lille during a degree in industrial management with French at Queen’s University, Mr McNally moved to the country in 1995 as part of his work with Terex, a manufacturer of lifting and material processing products.
He was married and had two children, Emma (12) and Shaun (10).
In recent times, he had set up his own business and was moving towards expanding into new markets. He had been due to travel to Madagascar this week.
Sinn Fein Councillor Dominic Molloy said he was deeply saddened to hear the news and paid tribute to Emmett.
“We were firm friends throughout primary school and at St Patrick’s Academy”, he said.
“In those days, Emmett was a keen runner and Gaelic footballer. After school days Emmett moved to France and it was only In recent times we again made contact through the help of social media.
“Sadly Emmett’s sudden passing comes only weeks after the passing of another Clintyclay classmate, Geraldine Fee McCourt.”
Deirdre McNally said the sudden loss of her son was “just completely devastating”.
“My faith would help me to see this is part of God’s bigger plan for all of us. It is just a terrible loss to all of us,” She described her son, who enjoyed cross-country running, as someone of “great compassion”.
Gerry Cunningham, chairman of Clonmore GFC, said Mr McNally was a “lovely fella”.
“He enjoyed the game very much, very pleasant and co-operative on the field of play,” he said.
“We would send our deepest sympathies to the McNally family at this time of difficulty”.
Emmett’s funeral will take place on Monday in Clonmore’s Sacred Heart Chapel at 11am.