“He was just a one-off.”
The simple, yet moving testimony used to sum up the tragic passing of Fr Manning Gaels star Brian Collum this week by club chairman Packie Duffy.
Hailed as one of the most talented players of his generation, the suddenness of the popular 20-year-old’s death last Tuesday, May 20, has left the close-knit community of Drumlish stunned.
In a poignant twist, Brian along with two friends had been due to fly out to the United States for the summer barely 24 hours after his untimely death.
“Brian was just an unbelievable person,” said a plainly emotional Mr Duffy.
“He was a gentleman behind it all, a very smart young man.”
Part of that skill set was evidenced both on and off the football field.
A Longford county panel member from U-16 all the way up to U-21, Brian’s rising stock culminated earlier this year in a call-up to Jack Sheedy’s senior squad.
He was also renowned throughout the locality for his musical ability.
A talented piano accordion player, the Drumlish native boasted several Scór titles while also enjoying set dancing success at All-Ireland level.
A former pupil of Drumlish NS and later Moyne Community School, Brian was studying at UCD at the time of his passing.
But it was perhaps his involvement within local GAA circles for which he will be remembered most for.
He was a skilfull player and played Minor and Senior level with St Vincent’s and later with Fr Manning Gaels.
Michael Mulleady, who managed Brian during Fr Manning Gaels’ march to last year’s U-21 A championship title, said locals were still numbed with grief over the news.
“He was a good lad, a very honest gosún,” said Mr Mulleady.
“Brian was also very intelligent and a great reader of the game. He is a massive loss to the club and parish.”
The late Brian Collum was laid to rest in Drumlish New Cemetery following Funeral Mass at St Mary’s Church last Thursday.
He is survived by his parents Peter and Bernie, brothers Emmet and Petie, grandparents, aunts, uncles, extended family and many friends.