Tributes paid to Irishman (24) who died days after moving to Australia

Matthew McGuigan, who represented Tyrone at minor level, remembered by GAA community

Tributes have been paid to a young Tyrone man who died over the weekend days after moving to Australia.

Matthew McGuigan (24) from Cookstown died suddenly after becoming ill on Saturday, having arrived in Sydney with his girlfriend in the past week.

A talented Gaelic footballer, he represented his county in the minor squad six years ago and was described as one of Tyrone’s “most outstanding forwards” by the Tyrone county board.

In a post on X, the board said: “Matty represented Tyrone as a member of the county minor squad in 2017 and since then had developed into one of the county’s most outstanding forwards with his club Kildress Wolfe Tones.


“Matty’s contributions to his team were nothing short of extraordinary, and his legacy as a player will forever be etched in the hearts of those who had the privilege of witnessing his prowess on the field. His commitment to the game and his unwavering spirit has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on Kildress Wolfe Tones and the broader community in Tyrone.

“Déanann muid comhbhrón ó bhun ár gcroí lena chlann agus lena theaghlach. We extend our deepest sympathies to the McGuigan and Treacy families, to Matthew’s partner and friends and to the entire Cill Dreasa club.”

Dominic McGurk, chairman of KIldress Wolfe Tones club, based in Cookstown, said the whole community was “devastated”.

In an interview with news outlet Belfast Live he said: “Matty has been our senior captain the last two years, he was our leader at 24 years of age. He became captain at just 22 years of age. He was the manager of our minor team last Sunday, he was a committee member as well. He was just a real leader.

“Him and his girlfriend Clodagh decided they were going to Australia and went on Wednesday morning, they only got out there late Thursday night.

“They had sent home photographs to family of them together standing outside in the sun in Australia. News came through this evening that Matty had died; we are devastated as a club.”

The Kildress club has postponed all club activities as a mark of respect.

Cookstown Olympic soccer club, where Mr McGuigan was also a player, said in a statement: “Everyone at Cookstown Olympic are devastated to hear the loss of Matty McGuigan.”

A GoFundme appeal has been set up by a McGuigan family friend to provide assistance.

“No words can express my sorrow and the heartache when I heard the terrible news of Matty’s passing ... I know there is nothing we can do to take the pain away but I’m hoping by setting this page up it will help,” said the friend in a tribute.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times