'Talented' GAA man Lorcán Branagan dies in Sydney Harbour tragedy

'Talented' GAA man Lorcán Branagan dies in Sydney Harbour tragedy

TRIBUTES have been paid after a popular GAA player died in Australia.

Lorcán Branagan went missing over the weekend while on a night out with friends in Sydney.

The 26-year-old, an avid traveller who hails from Co. Down in Northern Ireland, had moved to Australia in November to spend the summer there.

He was last seen at Darling Harbour's King Street Wharf at around 3.30am on Sunday, March 24 following a night out with friends at the Bungalow 8 nightclub.

He was reported missing at about 6pm the following day, which prompted local police to launch an air and water search.

Police divers located Mr Branagan's body in the water at Barangaroo, on Sydney Harbour, on Monday, March 25.

Lorcán Branagan died following a night out in Sydney

Paying tribute on social media, Mr Branagan's sister Caitlin said it was “difficult to put into words how simply amazing Lorcán was”.

“I truly admired him throughout my life - particularly his sense of drive, hard work and ability to light up a room with his infectious smile and laugh,” she explained.

“Oh, what I would give to hear it just one more time,” she added.

“It breaks my heart how you were taken in such tragic circumstances and my heart goes out to his girlfriend Shona and all our cousins who are currently out in Australia.

“Your strength is commendable.”

It is not the first time tragedy has hit the Branagan family, as Lorcán’s brother Peárce died in 2018 at the age of 23 following a suspected heart attack.

A former pupil of St Mark’s High School in Warrenpoint, Lorcán was a keen GAA player, who played hurling and football for Clonduff GAC in Newry.

Paying tribute today, the club said: “It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the tragic passing of our Senior Player Lorcán Branagan in Sydney, Australia.

“A very talented dual player for our club, Lorcán left for a winter in Australia in November 2023 and was due to return home for club playing duty in the coming weeks,” they explained.

“Our club and community are absolutely devastated at the loss of a wonderful, young gentleman who represented our club with great distinction.”

Lorcán Branagan was a talented GAA player

They added: “It is even more difficult to comprehend this tragic news, given the untimely passing of Lorcán's older brother Peárce, our senior hurler, in June 2018.

“Our deepest sympathy and prayers are with Lorcán’s family: his father Tony, mother Terri, brother Padráig, sister Caitlín and her partner Lorcán, niece Ríona and the wider Branagan and Hollywood family circle.

We also extend our thoughts to Lorcán’s girlfriend Shona and his teammates and friends both at home and in Australia.”

While in Sydney, Mr Branagan played for the Young Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association football club.

In a tribute posted on social media, his teammates said his “unexpected departure has left us all reeling with shock and profound sorrow”.

“Since joining our club this football season, Lorcán has made an indelible impression both on and off the pitch,”: they said.

“His talent, enthusiasm, and kindness endeared him to all who had the privilege of knowing him.

“Beyond his sporting abilities, Lorcán was admired for his warmth and friendly disposition, swiftly becoming a beloved figure within our club,” they added.

Colin McGrath, the SDLP MLA for South Down, has also paid tribute today, saying: “My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Lorcán Branagan.

“This is not the first tragedy to befall the family, my heart goes out to them and their grief will be compounded by the fact this has taken place so far from home.

“I’m sure that the local community will rally around the Branagan family in the difficult days ahead as they come to terms with their unimaginable loss.”

A memorial service to honour Mr Branagan is due to be held at Mary Immaculate Church in Waverley, Sydney tomorrow at 6pm.

Later today, a prayer service for Lorcán and his family will be held at St John’s Church in Ballymaghery, Hilltown.

The service starts at 8.15pm tonight (March 26).