Life went on as normal in Glanmire’s John O’Callaghan Park yesterday morning: People of various ages went for a typical Sunday walk in the bright sunshine, navigating the occasional puddles of mud, the last remains of the inclement weather from the day before.
A woman cast a careful eye on her toddler as he navigated his tricycle along the path that ran near the riverbank where the Glashaboy and Butlerstown rivers meet.
Across the Glashaboy, five horses of various breeds grazed on the site of the former John Barleycorn Inn Hotel. There was nothing to indicate that the picturesque setting was the scene of tragedy just 18 hours previous.
Some 3km away, on the northside of Cork City, locals gathered for noon mass at Our Lady Crowned Church in Mayfield, where they heard the list of deaths and anniversaries for whom the day’s service was offered.
At the end of the list, a late addition: Eric Stanton, the Mayfield Community School pupil who died the night before when he was thrown from his horse into the Glashaboy.
Eric died in Cork University Hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning. Emergency services had searched tirelessly for him on Saturday evening. He was said to have been submerged in deep water for some 40 minutes.
Sue-Ellen Carroll lives in Glenamoy Lawn, just yards from Avonmore Park where the 15-year-old lived with his parents Jimmy and Catherine and his six siblings: Emma, Lisa, Mark, James, Amy, and Michael.
“The people of Mayfield are in shock this morning. Eric lived close by and I know what a lovely young man he was, and that he came from a family respected by all in the community,” Ms Carroll said. “The sadness and shock felt by all of us today can’t compare to what the Stanton family must be experiencing, and our hearts and prayers go out to them.”
Brian Cronin, Danny Fitzpatrick, Odibo Aigbolia, and Edward Caulfied were Eric’s coaches at Mayfield Boxing Club, where he was described as a promising and dedicated fighter. “He was well-liked and came from a well-respected family,” Mr Cronin said.
Eric was due to take part in a county championship next week, and Mr Cronin said that on Friday, Eric spoke of his determination to maintain his weight for the contest’s weigh-in. “The club is devastated,” Mr Cronin said.
Others spoke of his love of horses, an appreciation evident from the teen’s Facebook page where there is a picture of him astride a bareback horse. It was both here and on Twitter that Eric’s friends expressed their sadness and shock at his death. One friend remembered Eric as “some jockey” who was always laughing, joking, and happy.
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