Tributes as young sportsman dies after exams

A talented young sportsman has died during his Leaving Certificate examinations.

Luke O’Brien May, aged 18, from Grange, Co Limerick, fell ill suddenly last week. He had completed his last exam in biology last Tuesday. The Castletroy College pupil was immediately brought to University Hospital Limerick and later transferred to Cork University Hospital. He died on Sunday.

School principal Padraig Flanagan said “a very valued member of the school community” is being mourned.

He said the school’s crisis response team is offering support to students who are struggling to cope with the loss of a friend and trying to complete the last of their exams this week.

A photograph of Luke, alongside a candle and a book of condolences, have been placed in the prayer room to allow friends to grieve and reflect on his life.

Luke’s younger brothers also attend the school. Ross is sitting his Junior Certificate, and Paul is a first-year student.

“He was a very popular young man and he was very involved sportsman in a wide range of sports in the school and outside the school,” the principal said.

“Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with his family at this time.”

Parish priest Fr John Daly spoke of the “ferocious shock” in the community.

“There is just complete numbness and silence,” said Fr Daly. “It’s a terrible tragedy. People are caught for words. He was a beautiful young boy and served as a former altar boy here in Grange church.”

He said a number of matches in the locality were postponed last weekend.

Aisling Annacotty AFC manager John Doyle said Luke, who was an enthusiastic hurling, football, rugby, and basketball player, was known for his “shy smile” and scored one of the most memorable goals for the club in an U17 cup final.

Elaine Joyce, another manager in Aisling Annacotty AFC, said Luke played with the club for five years and their “memories of Luke are new boots, new boots, and new boots”.

“The most up-to-date and most colourful [boots] — nearly one for everyone in the audience,” she recalled. “It would not be unheard of him to change in the middle of game and not half time either.

“Luke came to every session and match and no matter how long we played, he wanted to stay for more, with pleas to his mother or father, who were always on the sideline, to let him stay.”

The Limerick Lakers Basketball club said Luke would be sadly missed by all his teammates, while Bruff Rugby Football Club said Luke was “often seen in Kilballyowen as a flying winger”.

Luke will be laid to rest today in Bansha Church cemetery, after requiem Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Milford, Castletroy, at 12pm.


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