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Tributes to ‘Ironman and gentleman’ Liam

AN Omagh athlete who won the hearts of people across the community with his positive attitude in the face of a debilitating and aggressive disease, has passed away.
Widespread sadness greeted the news of Liam McDermott’s death on Tuesday evening.
The former chairman of Omagh Triathlon Club had shown his characteristic steely determination after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. The 54-year-old from Killyclogher (originally Dromore) went from attending an Ironman training camp in Lanzarote in February last year to being wheelchair-bound in the space of a few months.
As a nurse by profession, Liam had spent his adult life providing care to others before his retirement in August after 36 years.
He specialised in learning disability in the behavioural therapy department.
His positive demeanour and upbeat attitude was described as “inspirational” by his friends from his leisure cycle group – ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ – who held a number of fundraising events in order to purchase specialist pieces of equipment to help Liam maintain his independence.
The close group of friends actually all came together one last time just over a week ago to cheer on Ireland in the rugby against England.
Liam also received great support from his friends at the sporting clubs he has been involved with over the years; The Omagh Tri Club, Omagh Harriers and Omagh Hospitals FC.
Hundreds of people turned out to the fundraising events and well over £20,000 was raised to purchase the machines, demonstrating the high esteem in which he was held.
While Liam was only able to avail of these machines for a matter of weeks and months, Liam had made arrangements for them to be donated to the Motor Neurone Association locally, with his occupational therapist ensuring they will be used to help people in this area.
Speaking to the Ulster Herald in October Liam said, “It is a big thing to get your head around, but you just have to be practical and pragmatic as much as possible to get on with life the best you can. I was then diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in mid June. I very quickly and progressively went from being on crutches to needing to be off my feet and got this power wheelchair. It was really rapid.”
The many Facebook comments paying tribute to Liam and paying condolences to his family, all expressed how he was a “gentleman” and how his positivity throughout his life and illness was an “inspiration” to all who knew and cared for him.
Liam is the beloved father of Sinead and Niall, and loving brother of Anthony, Michael, John, Helen (Ena) (McGurgan), Carmel (McAnespy), Carolyn (McGuigan) and the late Marion (Boylan) and Baby Jane.
Liam’s remains left his late residence on Friday afternoon for requiem mass in St Davog’s Church Dromore, followed by his burial in St Dympna’s cemetery.

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