The former Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley, has been given a full military funeral in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Government ministers and leading GAA figures attended the ceremony.

Former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave issued a statement describing Lt Gen Earley as one of the great figures of this country.

When Lt Gen Earley's remains were removed to St Conleth's Church in Newbridge last night, local priest Fr Joe McDermott said the wonderful tributes paid to the Roscommon GAA-All Star and military leader were well deserved.

Lt Gen Earley's brother-in-law, Fr John Egan, was the main celebrant of the funeral mass.

The sermon was by the Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces, Monsignor Eoin Thynne.

Afterwards the coffin was placed on a gun carriage and taken to Newbridge Cemetery where military honours were rendered.

Lt Gen Earley is survived by his wife Mary, their six adult children - David, Conor, Dermot, Paula, Anne-Marie and Noelle, his mother Kitty, brothers Peter and Paul and his sisters Denise and Margaret.

The new Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Sean McCann and his deputy, Major General Dave Ashe, led the military participation.

The Earley family had declined the GAA's offer to postpone this evening's senior Championship clash between Kildare and Antrim as a mark of respect to the sporting icon.

Before the match began thousands of GAA supporters applauded his memory and Dermot Earley Junior lined out for the Kildare side just hours after his father's funeral.