Offaly and Louth GAA united in grief during poignant Ashling Murphy tribute
Heartfelt scenes on a day sports teams across the country paid their respects.
Tributes are being paid to the brutally slain school teacher Ashling Murphy today, and none more poignant than in Ardee, before Louth played Offaly.
Murphy, 23, was accosted and murdered while being out for an afternoon jog along the Grand Canal in Tullamore, after finishing up her school shift, on Tuesday.
Investigations to the case are ongoing and vigils are being held in Murphy's memory, across the country. President Michael D. Higgins has led tributes to the slain teacher, who was a keen GAA player with Kilcormac Killoughey.
Before games played between Fermanagh and Derry, Meath and Wexford and Longford and Dublin today, Murphy's memory was honoured with floral tributes and pre-game periods of reflection. Up in Galway, an image of the Offaly native was displayed on a big screen at half-time of the Connacht vs. Leicester Champions Cup match.
Ahead of Louth and Offaly's O'Byrne Cup game in Ardee, this afternoon, both teams announced they would not be featuring the No.23 jerseys, as a mark of respect to Murphy. On Twitter, Offaly stated:
'The players and management of Louth and Offaly join together for a minute's silence in memory of Ashling Murphy before today's O'Byrne Cup game. Neither team will use no 23 jersey today as a mark of respect.'
Both teams also lined up, arm in arm, for a moment's silence in front of a wreath laid for Murphy.
The players and management of Louth and Offaly join together for a minute's silence in memory of Ashling Murphy before today's O'Byrne Cup game.
Neither team will use no 23 jersey today as a mark of respect pic.twitter.com/EPe78YYjwh
— Official Offaly GAA (@Offaly_GAA) January 15, 2022
Two counties stand united in a lovely tribute to Ashling Murphy as a wreath is laid in her memory pic.twitter.com/4gCHzbwvqh
— Mary Dunne (@maryballyfore) January 15, 2022
Further tribute paid to Ashling Murphy
23 minutes into the game, play was halted and there was a round of applause in Ashling Murphy's memory.
As for the match itself, Offaly led 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time. Cousins Ruairí and Niall McNamee scored 0-4 apiece as Offaly built up a decent second half lead that was enough for victory, even though Mickey Harte's side netted twice. The match ended 0-15 to 2-6 to Offaly.
With more GAA games lined up for Sunday, there were be further tributes paid to Murphy as the nation tries to get its' head around a profound and horrific tragedy.