THOUSANDS of mourners gathered yesterday to pay their last respects to the late Dermot Earley, who died last week. Taoiseach Brian Cowen was one of many dignitaries to attend the full military funeral, which was in recognition of Earley's years of service with the Defence Forces, including his final appointment as chief of staff.

Dozens of well-known names from the world of GAA also paid their respects to Earley, who was a former All Star and considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.

The funeral mass took place yesterday morning at 11am at St Conleth's Church in Newbridge, Co Kildare. He was laid to rest afterwards at St Conleth's graveyard.

Earley, who was 62, is survived by his mother Kitty, his wife Mary and their six children.