“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land of deep shadow - a light has shone.”
These were the words spoken by Fr Simon Cadam during the funeral mass of Patrick Sheridan Jnr who died following a road traffic accident outside Ballinalee last Monday, December 22.
Patrick lay in repose at his home over Christmas as his family, neighbours and friends prepared to say goodbye to a son, brother, uncle and friend; a man who had run a business in the north Longford town and a young man who had become an integral part of the community there.
He played football for St Mary’s GAA and in a moving tribute, the club said it was both “saddened and shocked” by the young man’s death.
“He was a very talented footballer winning U-14 Div 3 in ‘99 and U-16 Div 2 in 2000,” a statement read. “These were among many of his achievements on the field and he had the honour of being underage player of the year in 2003. Pat also put in a superb performance for our U-21’s in 2003 even though he was still a minor. He will be sorely missed by all involved in our club and in the parish of Granard.”
Meanwhile, during the funeral mass Fr Simon Cadam added, “At times Patrick walked in the shadow of darkness and the light shone through the goodness of his family and his own inner goodness.”
The Parish Priest in Granard went on to speak of Nelson Mandela’s imagery of climbing a mountain and its significance to Patrick’s life.
“Patrick often referred to this in his own life,” the priest said, adding “Patrick too had overcome a lot of obstacles.”
“He had nearly reached the peak of the mountain. He was a very talented young man and was involved in sport. The symbols carried to the altar were symbols of his achievements and in recent years he had returned to college and qualified as a plumber. He had great faith and this gave him great comfort at the time of his mother’s death.”
As a mark of respect to the late Mr Sheridan a number of local events were postponed last week.
The St Mary’s GAA, Granard St Stephen’s Day walk in Higginstown in aid of Longford Westmeath Carers Association was cancelled and has been rescheduled to take place on New Year’s Day, while the Strictly Come Dancing in Drumlish, hosted by Gaels United FC, due to take place on December 27 was also postponed.
The cycle in aid of Longford Palliative Care which was scheduled for Stephen’s Day in Granard subsequently took place on December 28.
“On behalf of the whole community, we offer our deepest sympathy to Patrick’s family and friends,” Fr Cadam added.
Predeceased by his mother, Margaret, Patrick will be sadly missed by his loving father, Pat, sisters Martina, Caroline and Edel, nephews, nieces, relatives, friends and neighbours.
Gardaí in Granard confirmed to the Leader on Tuesday that they are continuing their investigations into the single vehicle car accident which claimed the life of Patrick two miles outside Ballinalee just three days before Christmas. May he Rest in Peace.