Sudden death of teenage hurler is latest tragedy to befall family

A teenage hurler who dropped dead suddenly in Co Cork at the weekend leaves behind a family already trying to rebuild after two terrible blows last year.

James Fitzgerald, 16, of Ballincolly, Charleville, collapsed at a friend’s house in the town on Saturday at about 5.30pm.

It is believed he had been training on some gym equipment. He was taken to Mallow General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

He had been due to line out with Charleville GAA club’s underage hurlers this weekend and on Saturday morning had done a shift at the Four Winds pub where he worked part-time.

An autopsy will be carried out today to establish what happened. There were no suspicious circumstances.

James was the son of Des and Geraldine Fitzgerald, and the youngest of four brothers.

In August last year his brother Mike died tragically.

Two months later his eldest brother Des was captaining the Charleville junior hurling team in a game at Buttevant when he collided with another player. The incident damaged his spinal cord and paralysed him.

In March, after leaving the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Des Fitzgerald married his long-time girlfriend Sarah McEvoy.

Charleville GAA’s public relations officer Garrett Barry said James was a well-liked and talented sportsman but that there was no firm information on what he had died from.

“An autopsy will be carried out. James was an asthmatic so we will wait and see. James was well-known in North Cork. The whole county knew him. He was a terrific footballer and hurler and he also played rugby very well,” said Mr Barry.

“He went to school in Charleville CBS and would have been on all the teams there. Charleville GAA just qualified for a county championship and James was pivotal in that. He dragged us into it himself. We were all so excited about it. He was a fantastic boy.”

Supt Pat McCarthy, of Mallow, is a member of the Charleville GAA club and said it was a very tragic, sudden death.

James Fitzgerald’s funeral Mass will take place on Thursday at 2pm.


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