Tributes continue to pour in throughout the day, following the tragic death of Kilbride and Wicklow GAA star, Ciaran Jones , the off duty 25 yrs old Garda who lost his life when raging Liffey waters threatened to collapse the Ballysmuttan Bridge
near his home on Monday night and at a time when trying to assist a motorist and protect other members of the public .
Mick O’Dwyer, Wicklow Manager during the 4 years Garda Jones was in his squad paid his respects:
“He was an exceptional young footballer, a really skillful player and fantastic striker of the ball.
“He was so committed to his job that he found it difficult to train at times and he also had some bad luck with injuries as he came through.
“But most of all he was an outstanding young gentleman. It’s shocking and terrible news for his family and friends that they have lost such a wonderful young man.”
The Gaelic Players Association too offered its condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and team mates of Garda Jones.
Ciarán was a member of the GPA during his time on the Wicklow senior football panel and many players contacted the GPA offices last night and this morning to pay their respects to Ciarán who lost his life trying to protect others.
Paddy Dalton, GPA rep with the Wicklow footballers, today paid tribute to his former county team-mate: “Ciarán was a real gentleman, a person who was always in good humour, always had a smile on his face.
“He was an excellent footballer, very skillful and an excellent free-taker, he had great style and as our former manager Mick (O’Dwyer) said, he had a great strike of a ball. I watched him playing with Kilbride in a relegation game in Baltinglass a few weeks back, after our own club had been involved in the Wicklow semi-final; I think he kicked most of his side’s scores that day, nine or ten points.
“He was a great fellow to meet in the dressing-room, always had a joke, always keeping everyone in good spirits. I was fortunate to also meet Ciarán socially in Dublin regularly and he was brilliant company.
“It is a terrible tragedy and I’d like to offer my condolences on behalf of the Wicklow panel to Ciarán’s family, his girlfriend Clare and everyone associated with Ciarán and the Jones family. Knowing him, we certainly weren’t surprised that Ciaran put his life on the line on Monday night to help others, he was that type of man.”
Dessie Farrell, GPA Chief Executive, said: “I would like to offer my sincerest sympathies to everyone involved with Ciarán. His bravery in the face of great danger reflected the type of character he was and I have been contacted personally by lot of players who wished to convey their sympathies to Ciarán’s family, friends, his Garda colleagues and Kilbride club mates. Ar dheis Dé go raibh anam Chiaráin.”
GAA President, Christy Cooney , speaking from Australia added : “Ciarán’s passing has struck a chord with everyone, including those of us here in Australia.
“He lost his life doing what he did every day – looking out for others – and it is a tribute to the character of the man that he was off duty on Monday night when he got into difficulty.
“Speaking to those who knew him, he was highly regarded, a free spirit, the life and soul of his club and someone who energised people. I offer my heartfelt condolences to this family and wide circle of friends
and of course his club where he will also be sorely missed.”
His club, Kilbride paid their tribute , in a club statement also carried on www.kilbridegaa.com
Ciaran Jones 1986 – 2011
“On Monday the 24th of October 2011, the lives of the people of Kilbride and Wicklow were shattered in a cruel and unforgettable way. One of our best loved son’s in both social and sporting circles, Ciaran Jones was taken away by an abnormal force of nature. It comes as no surprise to those who knew him that he was coming to help and assist somebody in need.
He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by each and everyone who loved him.
A young man who lived the community spirit, was proud of the village of Kilbride, its history and especially its GAA history. He dreamt of lifting championships for Kilbride. A true Kilbride Gael, who turned ‘dreams’ into hard work, dedication and reality by captaining his beloved village of Kilbride to their first championship victory for 39 years in 2007. Later that year he was presented with the accolade of Junior A player of the year in Wicklow and the following year claimed a place on the Wicklow Senior panel.
Ciaran had been an outstanding club free taker and a full forward artist and genius from the age of 15, his prowess and leadership will be hard to follow, if at all. His love of the sport extended to coaching the youngsters of the local National School in Kilbride who loved him dearly and will miss him greatly.
He fulfilled his dream when he became a fully fledged member of An Garda Síochána and took great pleasure and satisfaction from his career. The Garda and the public have lost a great public servant.
The Kilbride club and the extended community have lost a lovely young man in his prime and are mourning him greatly. Our sincerest condolences to Ciaran’s family; John, Brenda, Alan, Michele, his girlfriend Clare Kennedy, his Uncles, Martin, Jim, Declan and his extended family.
The prayers of the village, the parish, the GAA community in Wicklow and the club are with you all in this sorrowful time.
May the memory of Ciaran live forever and his legacy beyond.
Rest in Peace.
Wicklow footballers will form a guard of honour tomorrow evening (Thursday) at St. Brigid’s Church, Manor Kilbride, where Ciarán’s remains will arrive at 5.30pm.
Funeral Mass will take place on Friday at 12 noon, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.