Tributes paid at John McCall funeral

The world of Irish sport today paid tribute to one of rugby’s rising stars, John McCall, at his funeral in Armagh.

Senior figures from the Irish Rugby Football Union and school and international teammates joined the McCall family and around 2,000 people at his funeral service in Mall Presbyterian Church.

The 18-year-old flanker died of heart failure while playing for Ireland’s under-19 rugby team in a World Cup tournament in Durban, South Africa.

On St Patrick’s Day, he captained Royal School in Armagh to an Ulster Schools Cup triumph.

His death shocked the world of Irish sport which had to come to terms with another loss last month, with the death Tyrone Gaelic Football star and All-Ireland Championship winner Cormac McAnallen.

The Tyrone captain’s mother, Brigid and Ulster GAA president, Danny Murphy were among those who joined mourners today.

In a further setback this weekend, the GAA was also mourning the sudden death of Antrim county hurler Frankie McMullan on Friday in his home outside the village of Dunloy.

Triple Crown winning senior Irish rugby international David Humphreys also attended the funeral.

During today’s service, John’s father Ian McCall paid a 15 minute tribute.

“Rugby makes the man and it made John McCall,” he told mourners.

Royal School Armagh’s choir sang during the service which was conducted by the Reverend Colin Harris.

The service was also relayed to a neighbouring church and two church halls.

Representatives from New Zealand and South African rugby also paid their respects.

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