The town of Ballyhaunis came to a standstill today, as the funeral took place of local sporting hero Pierce Higgins.

The 45-year old died on Friday, after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

He is survived by his wife Clare, and daughters Erin and Ellie together with friends and family.

Over a 14-year hurling career, Pierce won two National Hurling League titles, and an All-Ireland Junior title in 2003, as well as winning a number of county titles with Ballyhaunis GAA.

Pierce is the only brother of Mayo hurler and former county footballer Keith Higgins.

St. Patrick's Church in Ballyhaunis was packed to capacity this morning for the Funeral Mass, with GAA colleagues and friends from around the county and country in attendance.

The main celebrant Fr Stephen Farragher, recalled many of Pierce's sporting achievements, and spoke about how bravely he had endured his illness in recent years, before his untimely passing on Friday at the age of 45.

Providing the music at today's Mass, Pierce's friend Brian Flanagan performed a song he composed specially for his pal -  for which he received a standing ovation.

Yesterday, hundreds of people queued at Donnellan's Funeral Home, Ballyhaunis to pay their condolences to the Higgins family, with many more attending today's Requiem Mass.

Members of Ballyhaunis and Tooreen hurling teams provided a guard of honour as Pierce's remains were brought from his home in Esker Pines to the funeral home.

Pierce was the inspiration for last year's Hurling for Hope initiative, which raised over €200,000 euro for two charities - the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice.

In his eulogy today, All-Star Keith Higgins thanked his older brother Pierce for his help and guidance since they started playing hurling and football in the back garden as children.

Keith also thanked both charities for their assistance, as well as the medical professionals who looked after Pierce.

Following the Mass, Pierce's coffin was carried by GAA team-mates & friends to Ballyhaunis Cemetery, where he was laid to rest.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílís



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