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Devastating Kilkenny mayor pays tribute to Harry Byrne (13) after tragic sliotar accident

"Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young man who died playing the sport he loved in his school"

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Harry Byrne died in a freak accident after being struck by a sliotar at his school

Harry Byrne died in a freak accident after being struck by a sliotar at his school

Harry Byrne died in a freak accident after being struck by a sliotar at his school

The Mayor of Kilkenny City says the whole community is in shock following the death of a 13-year-old in a freak sliotar accident.

Harry, from the small village of Gowran in Co Kilkenny, was taken to St Luke's Hospital where he was pronounced dead following the tragedy at his school, St Kieran's College, on Monday.

Cllr Andrew McGuinness described the incident as “absolutely devastating”.

“The whole city and county is in shock here this morning,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“As Mayor of Kilkenny I am saddened and shocked by the news,” he said.

“Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young man who died playing the sport he loved in his school."

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Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

"It's a very sad day for Kilkenny, St Kieran's College and all of his friends.

“It was a freak accident - he was playing the sport he loved with friends.”

He said the family has asked that people respect and support them at this difficult time.

Local parish priest, Fr Patrick Dalton, who visited the family last night, said they had been left reeling by the sudden tragedy.

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“They are devastated, as any parent would be. Nobody knows why these things happen, we search for answers,” he said. “It was a freak accident and yet it took a life.”

“Parish events planned for tomorrow have been cancelled and many people are consoling each other,” Fr Dalton added.

Gardaí said they are treating the incident as a ‘tragic accident’.

In a statement, St Kieran’s College described the accident as a “terrible tragedy”.

The schoolboy was the second eldest of four children to parents, Fergal and Annette, and was described last night as a passionate sports player who enjoyed hurling, golf as well as pitch and putt.

Fr Dalton said he and his family are well known in the parish.

“I knew his grandfather here in the parish 30 years ago and they family have very much made it their home,” he said.

“He was only a young player, developing his skills in sport when this happened,” he added.

They are a farming family and it is understood his parents rent out a luxurious Scandinavian-style cabin beside their home.

In a statement, St Kieran’s College described the accident as a “terrible tragedy”.

Harry will be laid to rest on Friday at the Assumption Church in Gowran.

Fianna Fáil councillor, Joe Malone, who is involved in the GAA, said: “The GAA and the whole school community is numb from the news.”

Mr Malone said he had been watching his own club, Ballyhale Shamrocks, play just over 24 hours earlier and everyone who heard the news was totally shocked.

In a statement on Tuesday, the school said the boy was “playing normally” with friends when the tragedy occurred.

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