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grief-stricken Hundreds attend vigil to remember tragic Monaghan schoolgirl Aoibhe Byrne

Families, club members, young children and hundreds of teenagers who were friends, classmates and team-mates of the popular young girl stood in clusters circling a makeshift shrine in the middle of the pitch.

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Friends and neighbours pay their respects during the vigil for Fourteen year old Aoibhe Byrne, at Magheracloone Mitchells GAA grounds .Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 29/4/22

Friends and neighbours pay their respects during the vigil for Fourteen year old Aoibhe Byrne, at Magheracloone Mitchells GAA grounds .Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 29/4/22

Friends and neighbours pay their respects during the vigil for Fourteen year old Aoibhe Byrne, at Magheracloone Mitchells GAA grounds .Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 29/4/22

The sunny spring evening of the May Bank Holiday weekend belied the sense of utter shock and devastation as a grief-stricken community gathered silently on the local GAA pitch tonight in tribute to schoolgirl Aoibhe Byrne.

More than a thousand mourners queued patiently at the entrance to the Magheracloone Mitchells GAA club on the outskirts of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan where the club held a candlelight vigil to honour the 14-year-old who tragically died in a tragic accident on Wednesday.

Such was the massive outpouring of grief that dozens of volunteers from the club and the community at large worked as parking marshals to direct a steady stream of traffic that poured onto the grounds throughout the evening for the three-hour-long vigil.

Hundreds of mourners had already arrived when the vigil got underway at 6pm.
Families, club members, young children and hundreds of teenagers who were friends, classmates and team-mates of the popular young girl stood in clusters circling a makeshift shrine in the middle of the pitch.

Dozens of lanterns formed a pathway to a booth where books of condolences were laid out for mourners to sign before they proceeded to the middle of the pitch where a giant heart – fashioned from the club’s folded-up black and white team jerseys – acted as a makeshift shrine.

Candles lined up to form the letter A next to floral bouquets and a wreath, over which a collage of photographs of the smiling schoolgirl presided.

Mourners from the GAA club, the Carrick Cruisers basketball club and the Carrick Rovers AFC where Aoibhe was a talented and enthusiastic team member donned their club jerseys as a mark of respect.

Her many close friends wept and hugged each other as they formed a guard of honour at the shrine while others stood circled on the pitch in quiet reflection, offering prayers and blessings while Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” played softly on a speaker in the background.
Local Sinn Féin Councillor Noel Keelan said the whole community is numbed with shock.
"She was a lovely girl, and very involved in the local GAA and sports clubs. Everyone is just in shock. We will all wrap ourselves around the family now in their time of need.”
Aoibhe attended Colaiste Dun an Ri in neighbouring Co Cavan and was a talented sportsperson.

A death notice posted on Rip.ie read: “Aoibhe's death brings an indescribable grief to her heartbroken family, she is loved beyond words and will be forever missed.”
Aoibhe played GAA with Magheracloone Mitchells, basketball with Carrick Cruisers and soccer with Carrick Rovers AFC which have all posted tributes to her.

Magheracloone Mitchells GAA club, which organised the vigil, had extended an invitation to the GAA community, the community at large and all of Aoibhe's family, friends and sports clubs to “join us tomorrow evening to remember Aoibhe.”

And the community responded in their droves on what should have been a pleasant start to a long weekend before Aoibhe’s tragic death cast a pall over the area.
“Our hearts are broken as we try to come to terms with the terrible news of the sudden passing of Aoibhe,” the club wrote.

“Aoibhe was a member of our U16 girls team and started playing with the club at U10 level. She was always smiling and always having the craic. Her bubbly personality will be remembered for all eternity.

“We offer our sincerest sympathies to Gary, Olivia, Oisín, Saoirse, Caolan, Gary Óg and all of Aoibhe's extended family, friends and team mates. You are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”

“Sleep well Aoibhe pet.”

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