herald

Monday 26 September 2016

'We ask the angels to take care of you, Dad' - tearful farewell to JT

Jockey Ruby Walsh pictured with his wife Gillian, after the funeral mass for jockey JT McNamara at St Michaels Church in Manister, near Croom, Co Limerick.
Jockey Ruby Walsh pictured with his wife Gillian, after the funeral mass for jockey JT McNamara at St Michaels Church in Manister, near Croom, Co Limerick.

The devastated wife of jockey JT McNamara received a standing ovation at his funeral as she paid an emotional tribute to her husband's courage.

Caroline McNamara said, that while they had faced "many, many difficult days" since the accident left him paralysed three years ago, they had been able to spend the time together as a family, creating "special memories" for their three young children, Dylan, Olivia and Harry.

JT (41) had continued to set himself goals "all the time", and getting back home and out to his yard had been one of his major achievements, she said.

She thanked the Irish Injured Jockeys' Fund, the Turf Club and the Injured Jockeys' Fund UK, saying that without their assistance "JT's return would not have been possible".

Honour

St Michaels Church in Manister
St Michaels Church in Manister

Tears slid down the cheeks of mourners as little Harry said a prayer of the faithful, thanking God for "my Dad". "We ask the angels to take good care of you. We love you, Dad," he said.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were represented at the funeral in Manister, Co Limerick by their aides-de-camp.

Other notable mourners included JP McManus, trainers Ted Walsh senior, Mouse Morris, Tom Taaffe, Willie Mullins, Enda Bulger and Gordon Elliot.

Around 30 jockeys formed a guard of honour as the remains left the church for burial. Among those who attended were Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, Nina Carberry, AP McCoy, Davy Russell, Robbie Power, John Joe O'Neill, Robbie McNamara and former jockey Mick Kinane.

Canon Gary Bluett, chief celebrant of the funeral, paid tribute to JT in the words of Shakespeare. "Goodnight sweet prince, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest," he said.

"That was Hamlet - Prince of Denmark, John - Prince of Manister. May he rest in peace," he said.

Jockey Barry Geraghty pictured with his wife Paula as they arrived at St Michael Church for the funeral mass of jockey JT McNamara at St Michaels Church in Manister, near Croom, Co Limerick.
Jockey Barry Geraghty pictured with his wife Paula as they arrived at St Michael Church for the funeral mass of jockey JT McNamara at St Michaels Church in Manister, near Croom, Co Limerick.

Afterwards, JP McManus said JT's death has not been in vain because "so much good has come out of it".

Ruby Walsh spoke of JT's courage and fortitude in the face of such hardship.

"Today is a very sad day, but three years ago in Cheltenham was a very sad day," he said.

"His mental strength and his willpower for the last three years have been incredible," he added.

Jockey AP McCoy pictured after funeral mass for jockey JT McNamara at St Michaels Church in Manister, near Croom, Co Limerick.
Jockey AP McCoy pictured after funeral mass for jockey JT McNamara at St Michaels Church in Manister, near Croom, Co Limerick.

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