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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Family look for answers over shocking death of little Emily

David Raleigh

Published 07/05/2013 | 05:00

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Emily Wilson (10), who died while warming up for a camogie game at Gortnahoe-Glengoole GAA grounds in Co Tipperary. Inset: her mum Caitriona Clutterbuck
Gortnahoe National School where Emily Watson was a fourthclass pupil.
Gortnahoe National School where Emily Watson was a fourthclass pupil.
Caitriona Clutterbuck, mother of Emily Wilson (10), who died suddenly while warming up for a camogie game at Gortnahoe-Glengoole GAA grounds in Co Tipperary on May 4, 2013.

THE family of a 10-year-old girl who collapsed suddenly and died while warming up for a camogie match are still searching for answers about what happened to their daughter.

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Although it was suspected Emily Wilson died from a cardiac arrest, initial post-mortem results were understood to have been inconclusive.

The schoolgirl collapsed at her local GAA club, Gortnahoe-Glengoole in Co Tipperary on Saturday morning.

A post-mortem carried out at South Tipperary General Hospital has failed to find an exact cause of death.

However, it is believed Emily's death may be linked to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, something that mainly occurs in older age groups.

At Gortnahoe National School, where Emily was a fourth class pupil, principal Derek O'Brien said her death was "a total shock", as the little girl had no known underlying medical condition.

"I was in total shock when I heard. It was completely out of the blue.

"We've never noticed anything to do with ill health," he told the Irish Independent.

Despite utilising an on-site defibrillator and providing CPR to the girl, along with the aid of a fully trained member of the Order of Malta, GAA club mentors and locals could not save her life.

"Ultimately, the decision was taken out of their hands by God. I feel so sorry for these people because they were helpless in the end. Nobody in the club could have done any more for the poor little girl," he said.

Club officials, present on the tragic day, had recently undergone a full first-aid course, Mr O'Brien added.

A meeting of school staff and local priest Fr John O'Rourke took place yesterday at the school, to prepare plans for Emily's funeral tomorrow.

Counselling is being offered to pupils of different age groups across six schools in south Tipperary and Offaly, who were in attendance at the GAA pitch on the day. "We are arranging counselling for the children from the National Educational Psychological Service. The entire staff are also going through the grieving process," Mr O'Brien said.

Locals in the close-knit village said they were "shocked" and "horrified", and were, "praying for the family at this awful time".

Players from Gortnahoe-Glencoole GAA club will perform a guard of honour tonight at the removal of the 10-year-old in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny.


Her fellow fourth-year classmates will perform a guard of honour at tomorrow's funeral in Gortnahoe.

Emily's remains will lie in repose at Doyle's Funeral Home, Urlingford, between 5-8pm, followed by removal to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Gortnahoe, arriving at 8.30pm.

Mass of the Angels will take place at 11.30am tomorrow followed by burial in the Good Shepherd Cemetery, Gortnahoe.

Irish Independent

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