Aoife’s friends gather to say final goodbye

FRIENDS of tragic Aoife Downey got to say a special goodbye to her last night.

There were emotional scenes as the family of the popular 15-year-old, who lost her life in a freak sledding accident in the city on Saturday, agreed to open her coffin after the removal to the Church of the Incarnation in Frankfield.

They then invited her friends to spend some time with her in the church and to say goodbye.

Hundreds of people packed into the church to offer their condolences to the devastated family.

Aoife’s shattered parents, Seán and Siobhan, and her younger sisters, Caoimhe and Eadaoin, walked behind the hearse with close family and friends the short distance from their home to the church.

Aoife’s clubmates from Douglas camogie club formed a guard of honour.

Family members shouldered the coffin inside as friends clutched green, black and white balloons — the colours of Douglas GAA club.

Fr John Walsh PP told mourners that he had been reading some of the many tributes paid to Aoife on Facebook.

“Love you Aoif, miss you Aoif, pray for us Aoif — they were all in the present tense and many of those made reference to the huge support for the family,” he said.

He spoke of Aoife’s love of sport — camogie, football, soccer — and said she excelled in all.

And he said the entire community would be there to support her family.

Aoife’s classmates from Christ the King, where she was a third year student, will form a guard of honour at this morning’s funeral Mass.

They gathered in the school library on Monday to remember her, and they attended a special prayer service at the school last night.

The school will close today as a mark of respect.

Classmates of Aoife’s younger sister, Eadaoin, will provide the music during the Mass.

Burial will take place in St John’s Cemetery in Ballinrea afterwards.

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