Mourners hear of how wedding of Dr Sean McMahon and his fiancée was to take place in Enniskillen last Friday
Hundreds packed St Patrick’s Church in Cullyhanna where Canon Michael Toner, in concelebration with Fr Malachy Conlon from Co Louth, said Requiem Mass for the 31-year-old doctor who worked in the Southern Health Trust in the anaesthetics department.
Sean’s cousin Barry Quinn gave a eulogy describing him as a great doctor and shared how Sean had fallen in love with Debbie and about their sadness that instead of their wedding they were attending Sean’s wake and funeral.
Sean was the youngest of seven children, born in September 24, 1991 to Frances and Charles McMahon having been pre-deceased by his sister Mary in March 1984. He went to St Patrick’s Primary School, Cullyhanna where ‘there were the first stirrings of a love of learning’. He then attended Abbey Grammar School in Newry before going to study Medicine at Queen’s University in Belfast, studies which eventually led to Sean specialising in anaesthetics.
Canon Toner said: “During this time Sean met and fell in love with Debbie, getting engaged on June 2, 2021. And as we all know had arranged their wedding for two days ago, Friday August 25. They had their new marital home, a bungalow, half built near to Sean’s mum and dad. I am told by those who knew Sean best, Sean said his prayers every night and blessed himself every day when he commenced his shift on the wards in whatever hospital he was attached to.
Sean’s cousin Barry Quinn said thanked everyone for being here today ‘not just to mourn him but to celebrate what a fantastic young man he was. For Sean to know he is not alone and to be here with Debbie, his fiancee and his family’.
"We have all cried so many tears for Sean since we heard the awful news on Tuesday,” said Barry adding that when he was asked to prepare a eulogy it hit him how hard it would be to share all that Sean had achieved in his life, at only 31.
He said there are so many people from different backgrounds attending his funeral as he had touched so many lives. “Sean didn’t really care what walk of life you came from. He treated everyone the same, always with a warm smile and a familiar friendliness and always a cheeky giggle. There was the family man Sean, the great craic friend Sean. His mother Frances told me the other day that Sean referred to himself as ‘great craic Sean’. He sort of had notions of himself. Then when he settle down and was getting married to Debbie and later in life, what he turned into, was the fantastic doctor Sean.
"Sean was into everything. He was always out on the farm with Charles and Terence. He played football for Cullyhanna years ago. He was very dedicated to the club. He was a good man for socialising. He wasn’t afraid to have a pint or two. There’s a few boys there a few rows back who could tell a few not PG stories about Sean. He wasn’t afraid to be the last man standing at the bar. Despite all those good nights out, and there were a lot with Sean, he somehow got good grades – actually he got great grades and ended up going to university to study medicine. That’s also where he found Debbie.
"As you all know Sean and Debbie were to be married two days ago in the Lough Erne. It was to be a celebration of their love for each other. Today, without doubt, Sean would be nursing a hangover and looking forward to his new life as part of a happily married couple,” he said.
"Sean and I became really good friends in the last number of years. Our paths realigned from when we were younger as we both worked in medicine. He really loved coming to work in Enniskillen where I worked. He loved to come and work when I was there. Even before every shift started at maybe 8am Sean would get his phone out and put the live camera which was showing the progress of his house. He would be counting the blocks that were going up, what was moving there.
“Sean, he excelled as a doctor. I can’t say enough about Sean as a doctor,” said Barry recalling how, some years ago, one of the medical consultants in Enniskillen said Sean was the best first year doctor he had ever worked with.
"Sean went into anaesthetic training straight after the first two years of being a doctor. He had completed his consultancy exams, his training, way ahead of time. he really loved anaesthetics. He was always learning, he was always modest. He loved teaching. He was always teaching me at work. It was fantastic when he was there. I would see him come along with an ultrasound machine and he would teach me how to perform procedures better on patients. He really was a wealth of knowledge.
Struggling to speak Barry said: “While Sean is not with us, what he has taught me in his passing is to be happy with what you have. He always was. To always be patient and kind to others. To love your family and friends and that is all that’s really important in life.