Sadness as funeral of County Limerick schoolboy takes place

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

A THIRTEEN year-old hurler who died from an asthma attack after scoring a winning goal in a match has been buried in his Sporting Limerick jersey.

A THIRTEEN year-old hurler who died from an asthma attack after scoring a winning goal in a match has been buried in his Sporting Limerick jersey.

Limerick city native, James Long, who scored the winning goal for his hurling side in a crucial game, died hours later from a severe asthma attack. Over 1,000 people from the city and county turned out yesterday to pay their respects to the family of the teenager who was originally from Quinn’s Cottages, Rosbrien. The popular young boy previously attended Scoil Mhathair De on South Circular Road, while his grandmother Christina Long lives in Greenfields, in the city.

The congregation heard how the day of his funeral was also “his spiritual birthday” because on the same day 13 years ago James was baptised in the Dominican Church in Limerick.

“Joys and sorrows live next door to one another and no life can ever be a complete fairy-tale, even for the young,” said Canon Willie Fitzmaurice, PP, Kilmallock, who concelebrated the funeral Mass at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Kilmallock.

Canon Fitzmaurice spoke of the ease at which James had adapted to country life after his move to Kilmallock from the city.

“He was a live wire with bundles of energy, engaging in many hobbies and activities. He loved sports - hurling and soccer, loved the outdoor life, loved nature, walking the greyhounds with a neighbour. He easily adapted to country life after the confines of city life since he came out here about six years ago,” Canon Fitzmaurice continued.

As a mark of respect for the popular hurler, there was one minute’s silence at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening at the beginning of Limerick’s game in the qualifiers against Laois. Mourners at the funeral mass – who included chairman and secretary of Limerick GAA County Board, Liam Lenihan and Mike O’Riordan, and Limerick senior hurlers Gavin O’Mahony and Paudie O’Brien - heard how the teenager was “elated” after scoring the winning goal for the Kilmallock U14 hurling team in the closing minutes of a local championship match against Patrickswell last Wednesday. He is survived by his parents Barbara and Terence, sisters Kate and Sarah and extended family and friends.