Thursday 27 June 2019

Tearful farewell to teenager Ciara

The late Ciara Ryan.
The late Ciara Ryan.
The late Ciara Ryan.

By Esther Hayden

A veil of sorrow hangs over the communities of Inch, Kilanerin, Ballyfad and Gorey following the sudden and unexpected death of teenager Ciara Ryan.

14-year-old Ciara from Macoyle Upper, Inch died on Friday at Wexford General Hospital having taken ill at GAA training with her club Kilanerin and Ballynestragh Gaels on Thursday evening.

Formerly of Borleigh, Inch, Ciara was the eldest daughter of Anto and Trish and sister to Éabha and Jack.

A bright and bubbly girl Ciara was a budding sportstar and not only played GAA but also soccer and competed in athletics.

On Thursday evening Ciara was training with the u16 and u14 Kilanerin Ballyfad camogie players being a member of both team. There was an U12 girls match on the other pitch.

At the very end of training  while going for a ball Ciara collapsed and when asked complained of her leg. Within a couple of minutes a local doctor attended her and an ambulance was called. Within another few minutes a local paramedic arrived on the scene and went to assist the local doctor and nurse who were tending to Ciara.

Contrary to some national media reports Ciara never received a blow or a bang to her head and didn’t complain of headaches. Her only complaint was a pain in her leg after she collapsed having gone for a ball.

She was brought to Wexford General Hospital but died on Friday surrounded by her heartbroken family.

A bright star on the sporting field Ciara’s death sent shockwaves through the local community and in GAA circles nationally with tributes flooding in from clubs around the country. All fixtures planned for Kilanerin Ballyfad were immediately called off and a number of matches which did go ahead held a minute’s silence prior to the matches getting under way as a mark of respect for Ciara. There was a minute’s silence held before the Wexford Westmeath minor hurling game on Saturday for Ciara and also for Tom Crosbie who was the father of the Coiste na nOg Vice-Chairperson Marguerite Furlong.

There was a very poignant minute’s silence held before the Wexford Kildare Under 14 Leinster football game in Clane when both teams stood shoulder to shoulder in unity as a mark of respect.

Wexford Ladies Football Club said: ‘All involved with Wexford Ladies Gaelic Football are shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely and sudden passing of Ciara Ryan, Kilanerin LGF club. We extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Ryan Family on the death of their beloved daughter and sister. Our thoughts and prayers are with Anto, Trish, Jack and Eabha, the extended Ryan and Molloy Families, all members of Kilanerin LGF Club, the community of Kilanerin/Ballyfad and her classmates in Gorey Community School.’

Ladies Gaelic Football Association President Marie Hickey also expressed her sympathies to the family of Ciara. ‘Our prayers and sympathies are with Ciara’s family, who have suffered such a great and sudden loss.

‘This is a tragedy for the community in Gorey, her club mates in Kilanerin, the Gaelic games community in Wexford and in Ireland.

‘On behalf of everyone involved in the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, I would like to offer my condolences to the family of Ciara Ryan.’

A spokesperson for Kilanerin camogie club said: ‘This is a terrible tragedy for the family. We are deeply saddened by these events. Our sympathy and thoughts are with Trish and Anto her parents, her sister Eábha and brother Jack, extended family and friends.

‘Ciara was a member of Kilanerin and Ballynestragh Gaels and will be greatly missed by all that knew her. Offers of support have been pouring in and are greatly appreciated. Ciara was a fantastic girl and a keen sports person. On her last camogie training session on Thursday night she played with gusto and will be missed by her fellow teammates.’

Principal of Gorey Community School where Ciara was a second year student said that the entire student body was shocked to the core by Ciara’s death. The school was closed yesterday (Monday) as a mark of respect and on Friday the school implemented its critical incident policy to help students affected by the tragedy.

Mr Finn said that a minute’s silence was observed at the school on Friday afternoon. Students at the school took part in Ciara’s funeral service and there was a guard of honour by the students, staff and her team mates from various clubs between the church and the graveyard on Monday.

Mr Finn said ‘Ciara was a very sporty girl, very active. Unusually she had friends from all different years because of her involvement in sport. That’s why her death took the school by storm on Friday. She played on the Under 16 and Under 14 teams here in the school and was also a member of the athletics club as well as playing with her local club and with Gorey Rangers.

‘She was a really lovely girl and you could see the great esteem in which she was held by her class mates and team mates during the funeral on Monday. It spoke volumes about the type of girl that Ciara was.

‘Our hearts and prayers were with the Ryan family.’

Ciara’s remains were removed from Flood’s Funeral Home, McDermott Street, Gorey on Monday morning to S.S Peter & Paul’s Church, Kilanerin, for Funeral Mass. Burial took place afterwards in Limbrick Cemetery, Kilanerin.

She is survived by her heartbroken parents Anto and Trish, sister Éabha, brother Jack, aunts, uncles, grandparents, relatives, friends and neighbours.

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