Boy, 13, killed in freak accident on school lunch break was ‘loveliest chap’ – World News

Harry Byrne, from Gowran, Co Kilkenny in Ireland, was hit in the throat by a sliotar, a hurling ball, while playing with friends at St Kieran’s College

Harry Byrne died on Tuesday

A teenager who died in a freak accident on a school lunch break was a promising young hurler destined to be star, say family friends.

Harry Byrne, from Gowran, Co Kilkenny in Ireland, was hit in the throat by a sliotar, a hurling ball, which damaged a carotid artery in his neck, it is understood.

The 13-year-old was enjoying his lunch break on Monday at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny when the tragedy happened, reports the Irish Mirror.

The first year student was rushed to St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny and subsequently transferred to hospital in Dublin but he sadly died on Tuesday.

Ciaran Phelan, a family friend and vice chairman of Harry’s local GAA club, Young Irelands, remembered the “stand-out” boy as “the loveliest chap you could meet”.

St Kierans College in Kilkenny

He told RTE’s Claire Byrne: “His enthusiasm, his smile, his manners, everything about Harry stood out and he was a credit to his family and a credit to his club. He was a lovely chap.

“He probably grew a foot in the last year-and-a-half since Covid.”

According to Mr Phelan, Harry was making “real progress” at hurling, had recently won two under-13 county championships and had been called in for trials for the Kilkenny county development squad.

Coming from a well-respected GAA family, Mr Phelan said Harry getting the call up for Kilkenny would have been “huge”.

He added: “He played other sports, but hurling for Harry and his family is huge and this would have been a tremendous honour for Harry and his family.”

“Harry, as an important member of the team, he was flying it.

“He was recently called in for trials for development squads with the U13s. He also got picked lately on a team I know in St Kieran’s College with football trials.

“Harry was really starting to do well.”

Labour councillor Denis Hynes, a neighbour of the Byrnes, said the whole community is “sad and shocked”.

He told RTE’s News at One: “It’s an awful sad time for us all here. I can’t begin to imagine what it is like for Harry’s mam and dad, it’s so tough.

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“The pain being felt for the family couldn’t be measured, it’s everyone’s greatest fear, your heart breaks”.

Cllr Hynes trained Harry in soccer at Bridge United FC in Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, and said he was “a joy to coach”.

He added: “He aspired to be the next professional, but his real love was hurling.

“He had trials there last Saturday week for the Kilkenny county development team and he was hoping to make that and they were waiting on word.”

He described Harry as “a lovely, lovely chap, full of energy and very popular in our club, in Young Irelands and [St] Kieran’s and he had loads of friends in the Gowran, Clara and Goresbridge areas”.

In a death notice Harry’s heartbroken parents, Fergal and Annette, told of their agony. They wrote: “Our dear Harry left us suddenly and unexpectedly.

“Deeply regretted by his heartbroken parents Fergal and Annette, his adoring brothers and sister Jake, Aimee and Sam, his much cherished grandparents Teresa Byrne, Martin and Mary (Nolan), aunts, uncles, grand aunts, grand uncles, cousins, relatives and a wide circle of friends.”

Kilkenny RFC, where Harry played for the U14 team, called him “a fantastic young boy with a larger than life
character.”

A club spokesperson said: “We are hollow with sadness at the heartbreaking and tragic news that hit the Byrne family earlier this week.

“Harry’s memory will live on amongst his team mates, coaches and friends.”

Gardai said they are treating the incident as a tragic accident.

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