Applause broke out shortly after both David and Tipperary legend Jimmy Doyle’s names were announced over the tannoy, and that felt all the more appropriate on so special a day in the GAA calendar
And the massive community spirit within the GAA was very much in evidence throughout the week, when an online fundraising campaign launched to repatriate the body of David Houlihan raised over €30,000 in two days.
David (24), from Pinewood in Abbeyside, lost his life in a drowning incident on the popular tourist island of Koh Samui last Sunday.
The popular Dungarvan clubman had travelled to Thailand on Sunday week last with two friends en route to Australia to visit pals, having lined out for his club against Ballinameela in the Western Intermediate Football Championship just two days prior to his departure.
In the wake of Mr Houlihan’s death, a YouCaring fundraising page was launched to help the family with repatriating his body and the GAA community of Waterford and beyond got busy sharing the page and making donations.
Amongst the high profile names to promote the page on social media were Waterford’s Tony Browne and Tipperary’s Lar Corbett and Paddy Stapleton. Over 1,000 people donated to the page by the time it was closed last Thursday evening, having raised €30,826. A message on the site thanked all those who donated:
“We have raised more than enough to cover all costs and the excess will be donated to the Kevin Bell Foundation. Many thanks to everyone who has supported this fund page.”
Houlihan, who worked at Glaxosmithkline in Dungarvan, was one of five boys born to Johnny and Bernie Houlihan.
Their father died eight years ago following a heart attack while their mother passed away in 2011 from cancer. Following David’s death, his older brothers Paul and Adam travelled to Thailand. His youngest brother Jonathan (14) stayed at home, while David has another brother Patrick living in the US.
The deceased was a member of Dungarvan GAA’s senior hurling squad that reached the 2012 Waterford County Final against De La Salle.
Following his death, many clubs and the Waterford County Board paid tribute to the Abbeyside man, including this from his own Dungarvan GAA Club:
“Everyone in the club is still in shock and disbelief that Houli will never again drive into the club grounds, pull on the Blue jersey, enjoy a chat with his friends in Paddys or play a game of his latest sporting love, golf.
“Our heartfelt feelings extend to his loving family, the Houlihans, from Pinewood in Abbeyside who have already suffered too much grief in their short lives and now have to carry the cross of the loss of another loved one. David picked himself up as best as he could at a young age from the passing of his parents and he immersed himself in sport and in lifelong friendships.
“Born in 1991, David was destined to play with Dungarvan, following in the footsteps of his grand uncle Tommy Houlihan, who won championship honours in the 1940s, his uncles Jim and Michael were on our County winning Junior football team in 1973 and his other uncle Martin was part of our Three in a Row County Senior football winning sides from 1990-92. David’s late father Johnny was juvenile club chairman and all his brothers have played with us.
“He forged friendships everywhere he went and his popularity has plunged everybody who befriended him into a deep darkness.” May he Rest in Peace.