Saturday 24 June 2017

Classmates' tears for tragic teen victim of hit-and-run

Schoolboys from Gaelscoil Colaiste Mhuire carry Conor Hickey's coffin to Christ the King Church, Cabra, Dublin yesterday
Schoolboys from Gaelscoil Colaiste Mhuire carry Conor Hickey's coffin to Christ the King Church, Cabra, Dublin yesterday
Tragic hit-and-run victim Conor Hickey
Conor's mum Margaret is comforted

Mark Hilliard

THE short life of a 14-year-old "loveable rogue" was celebrated yesterday, without a mention of the unknown driver who killed him in a hit and run accident.

Conor Hickey, a clearly popular teenager from Cabra, Dublin, died shortly after being knocked down on his way to visit a friend last weekend.

At his funeral Mass yesterday, nothing was said about who this killer might be -- only moving reflections on his victim's short life, the "little over 14 years of fantastic memories".

As the rain and wind swept around the Christ the King Church, Conor's coffin was carried ceremoniously to the door through a guard of honour formed by the devastated members of his Naomh Fionnbarra GAA Club and down to the altar.

His family, cast in uncontrollable grief, filed past the throngs of mourners. His mother and father Margaret and John, and sisters Claire and Amanda, now have Christmas to reflect on their needless loss.

Several items were placed on the casket, each one representing a part of his young life -- a school shirt signed by classmates, a hurling stick and jersey, some boxing gloves, roller blades and spray paint from his love of controlled graffiti.

The church was dotted with school uniforms, the students and teachers of his secondary school Colaiste Mhuire and nat-ional school Gaelscoil Bharra.

Young children and adults comforted each other throughout; the sound of tears audible the length of the aisle.

"You have been gathered since this terrible accident in large groups and small groups to remember him, to say prayers together and to support his family," said Fr Patrick Carroll.

"Last Saturday evening so many young friends were here for the Mass, and then at the end of Mass, when the word came through that Conor had passed from this life into God's care, there were a lot of tears and a lot of grief but still cherished memories."

Conor was "your friend, our little angel" he said, someone with a "radiant smile, a glint in his eye. You have come at this time of great sadness for this family, a time when there is great togetherness in this parish and in the wider community of Cabra.

Brightness

"To remember all that he brought into your lives, all the brightness, there is a picture here of a smiling Conor and that is how you remember him."

Throughout the service a choir made up of the young students from his two schools sang hymns, a reminder of the youth this tragic incident involved.

Later Patrick Whelan, his under-14 hurling coach, spoke on behalf of Conor's father John who found the occasion too difficult to speak.

"Our lives have been completely devastated," he said before adding in a welcome tribute to his young student that drew applause: "In the words of the little man himself, 'chillax everybody'."

Outside a black horse-drawn carriage brought Conor's body to his final resting place in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Irish Independent

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