Exam moved so friends could attend funeral of tragic classmate
THE State Examination Commission moved forward the Junior and Leaving Cert exams at one school to allow grieving students to attend the funeral of a friend who died following a drowning accident.
For the fifth-year students of Pobalscoil Sliabh Luachra, who are on holiday, it was back on with their uniforms to honour Christopher O'Sullivan (17), who was laid to rest in his native Rathmore, Co Kerry.
The teenager died at Kerry General Hospital on Monday morning, having never regained consciousness after being pulled from the River Blackwater on the Cork/Kerry border on Sunday.
Yesterday, his uncle Pa Joe O'Sullivan paid tribute to Chris's friends who spent his last remaining hours with him.
Speaking on behalf of the O'Sullivan and Kelly families, Mr O'Sullivan said: "I'd like to thank everyone in Rathmore and Knocknagree who helped us through this very traumatic time, but especially his friends."
As a final farewell to his nephew, he called for a minute's uninterrupted applause.
Symbols of Christopher's life were brought to the altar during the funeral mass including his beloved Rathmore GAA jersey, a football, Kerry and Liverpool jerseys and a toy car, symbolic of the recent journey he had enjoyed with his father, Jerry.
And as his brothers helped shoulder his coffin from the church past the waiting guard of honour made up of his school friends, the choir sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone', a song that would have been all too familiar to the Liverpool fan.