Michael McNeela pictured after completing the Stockholm Half Marathon in 2018. Photo: Mayo Athletics Club.

Mayo in mourning over passing of much-loved sportsman

The death has occurred suddenly at his home of Michael McNeela, Lismirrane, Bohola, Swinford and formerly of Riverdale Court, Knockthomas, Castlebar.

Aged 48 years, he was predeceased by his father Poraic.

He is deeply mourned by his mother Breege (née Athy), his sister Sandra, adored nephew Cillian, his partner Kirsty McGreevy and her family, Sandra's partner Jonathan O'Dowd, his uncles Michael (Kilmeena, Westport ) and Sean (Castlebar), his aunts Anne Moran (Balla) and Nora Hyland (Manulla), cousins, work colleagues, Mayo AC clubmates, relatives and many friends.

Deepest sympathy is tendered to the bereaved family on their loss.

Michael was a very active member of the Mayo Athletic Club for many years.

He competed in many marathons both in Ireland and Europe.

He had a great interest in sport and he was a life long supporter of Aston Villa football club.

He worked in the HSE with the Mayo Community Living in Westport and previously in Swinford.

Michael was an avid music fan. He also loved to travel and particularly to the Nordic countries.

He had visited Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. His favourite was Norway which he visited on many occasions.

He was held in high regard by his work colleagues and club mates in Mayo Athletic Club and was well respected and liked by all he came into contact with through his work, through sport and his many travel adventures.

A tribute to him by Mayo Athletic Club stated: "We have all been shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of our good friend and club member Michael McNeela.

"A prolific runner over the years, Michael’s results have been documented regularly in reports on our website since it’s inception in 2010.

"His records show some great finishing times in endurance events at all distances from 5k to the marathon.

"Like many members, Micheal came to athletics in his 30s. He joined the Castlebar Fit4Life group in 2009 and subsequently our club.

"He already had a Mayo AC connection – club chairman John Byrne’s late mother Nancy was his godmother.

"In common with many Fit4Life ‘graduates’, as a Mayo AC club member he moved quickly to new levels of achievement. He was a great example of those who took this road into the athletics world.

"One of our earliest reports shows him winning the Croí Half Marathon in 1:32 on the island of Inisbofin in 2011. The following year he improved to 1:26.45 in the Tarmonbarry half.

"Michael was a lovely, quiet, gentle man, softly spoken with a warm smile.

"He was a calm, compassionate and caring person, and in recent years this led him to study and work in a profession he enjoyed.

"He served the club on various race committees and his contribution was always valued, both in planning and as a volunteer.

"Michael's passing is a very sad loss for the club. He will be greatly missed by fellow members and by his many friends in the athletics community and beyond."

Reposing at Kilcoyne’s Funeral Home, Thomas Street, Castlebar, tomorrow (Sunday) evening 5.30 p.m. with removal at 7.30 p.m. to the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar, arriving at 8.15 p.m.

Funeral Mass takes place on Monday morning at 11.30 a.m. after which Michael will be laid to rest in the New Cemetery, Newport Road, Castlebar.

May his gentle soul rest in peace.