‘Michael Ginesi was a sociable, engaging personality who attracted people with his smile and personality,’ said the priest at his funeral this morning.
His enduring popularity was cemented by the hundreds who packed St Peter’s Church in Lurgan, many of them young people, grief stricken at his sudden death.
The 34-year-old father of four was killed when his car struck a tree on the Annesborough Road in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Michael’s death was the third tragedy in the area recently, with young Shea Martin’s sudden passing at the railway tracks last week and Niall O’Hanlon, who tragically lost his life after being struck by a car in Magheralin the week before.
Michael’s team Oxford Sunnyside, where he had been a player and coach, formed a guard of honour outside the church as his remains arrived for Requiem Mass.
His children, Jade, Tiernan, Ryan and Jessica, brought up gifts to the altar including a photo of his wonderful smile, his football jersey, a photo of Michael with his children and a teddy bear.
Their grief was heartbreaking and Fr Brian Fitzpatrick echoed the feelings of the congregation saying “It would bring tears to a stone.”
He said there was lots of emotion and even a ‘touch of anger’ after what happened to Michael.
In his homily Fr Fitzpatrick said: “We must be thankful for his life which came to such an abrupt and sudden end.”
“Michael was such a sociable and engaging and people person who attracted people with his smile and personality.
“He was young at heart and that was part of the reason why he was such an effective leader and why many a silent tear has been shed for him.
“But there were only four who were the apple of his eye - his children. It was clear how devoted they were to him and him to them. Jade has enjoyed her dad for longer but the youngest will be hearing about their dad for a very long time.
“Michael had his own troubles, losing his big sister Nicola and his mum just a few years ago. But this brought him closer to his dad Ralph.”
Fr Fitzpatrick described Michael as a typical Lurgan man with ‘no back doors, very straight up and open.
“Michael was abounding with energy and fun. He was spontaneous and unpredictable, and childlike in that he held no malice.
“There is a hole left in so many lives,” said Fr Fitzpatrick.
“Michael’s life on earth was tragically stopped at the age of 34. He cannot age anymore and he will be forever young,” he said.
His young daughter Jade spoke about how much she loved her daddy and how recently they had gone on holiday to Santa Ponsa. “He kept us safe. Love you daddy, always and forever,” she said.
His brother Ralph read an emotional and heartfelt poem at the end of Mass.
His remains left St Peter’s with a guard of honour from St Catherine’s College, Armagh and Oxford Sunnyside as well as member of St Peter’s GAA Club.