Christy O'Connor Jnr: Ryder Cup hero's funeral takes place in Galway

Sam Torrance (left) and Paul McGinley (right) arrives for the funeral of Christy O'Connor Jnr
Former European Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance (left) and Paul McGinley (right) were among the mourners

Irish golfer Christy O'Connor Jnr was described as a "great human being" at his funeral in Galway on Tuesday.

Mourners at Galway Cathedral were told that that the Irishman had been reunited with son Darren, who died in a road accident in 1998, aged 17.

O'Connor died suddenly, aged 67, on 6 January while on holiday in Tenerife.

"He prayed to him and for him and was convinced that Darren came to his assistance more than once," said Father Michael Kelly, who led the service.

"He spoke openly and confidently of his conviction that he would meet Darren again - not quite so soon, I imagine."

Fellow Irish golfer Eamonn Darcy and John Mulholland, former mayor of Galway and a close friend of O'Connor, gave personal reflections on his life ahead of the Mass.

Among the gifts presented were the Ryder Cup Trophy marking O'Connor's triumph at the Belfry in 1989 when he hit one of the most famous shots in golf history.

He fired a stunning two iron from more than 230 yards to within four feet of the hole to earn an unexpected singles victory over Fred Couples which helped Europe retain the trophy.

Irish President Michael D Higgins and former European Ryder Cup captains Paul McGinley and Sam Torrance were among the thousands of mourners who attended Tuesday's funeral.

"It's a sad day for Ireland," McGinley said.

"He was a character, much loved, and I'll miss the fun."

O'Connor 'one in a million'

In his homily Father Kelly recalled the glowing tributes since O'Connor Jnr's death and said it sounded like a cause for canonisation.

He said: "Tributes to the golfer - one of our greatest - to the family man, who showed enormous pride in his family and never failed to acknowledge them when celebrating his achievements.

"Tributes to a friend - and everybody felt they were one of them.

"There were tributes to the fundraiser, who had raised huge amounts for worthy charities down through the years - from missionaries in Africa to the Galway Hospice Foundation last July.

"He was a proud Galway man, an Irishman and a European. His leaving has left our world a poorer place. He was one in a million."

O'Connor Jnr is survived by his wife Ann, son Nigel and daughter Ann.