Gifted hurler (11) killed walking road to visit his grandmother
A young boy killed in a road crash as he walked the short distance from his home to his grandmother's house was a gifted hurler who had a bright future ahead of him.
Jack Wyer (11), from Ballinamere, Tullamore, Co Offaly, died after he was struck by a car shortly before 9am as he crossed the road from his father's home to visit his grandmother before school.
Jack was the only child of Ramona Lambe and Derek Wyer. His grieving parents were being supported yesterday by their extended families.
"He had been dropped off at his father's home earlier and before school he was walking a little bit up the road to his granny's house," said one local.
"He would call into her every morning before school.
"He was watching a line of traffic coming from one side and just took a step too far out on to the road and that was it. It happened in an instant."
Jack was rushed to the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore where he was pronounced dead. The Rahan road in Ballkilmurray where the accident occurred was closed for most of the day yesterday as technical examinations were carried out.
Locals in the small village remained in shock at the sudden death and recalled Jack for his ready smile, friendly nature and ability with a hurley.
Larry Flemming, local principal of Ballinamere National School where Jack was a fourth-class pupil, remembered the young boy as "vivacious, bright and friendly".
He added that Jack had excelled at sport and looked set to live up to his family legacy in hurling.
"He was a gifted sportsman and the best young hurler we had seen at the school in a very long time," said Mr Flemming.
"He came from a great hurling background and Jack was most certainly going to follow in their footsteps. I could see him making the Offaly team."
However, it was his care for younger children that stood out strongest.
"He was extremely popular with all the children. He was a very empathetic boy and would always look out for the younger children in the yard. He was such a caring and kind child," added Mr Flemming.
Students and staff at the school received counselling yesterday after news of the tragedy broke.
An air of grief was palpable as parents gathered to pick their children up from the school.
"Everyone is just in pieces about this. He was a lovely young lad. We're all just numbed. It's hard to explain to the younger children," said one mother.
Jack had played for the Ballinamere Durrow GAA club at under-12s level. A spokesperson for the senior club said the whole community had been left devastated by his death.
"This is a terrible tragedy for the family, the club and the entire community. Jack was a fantastic young hurler and his family were deeply involved in the GAA going back generations.
"He was a lovely, friendly lad," said one club member.
Gardai are appealing for any witnesses to contact Tullamore garda station on 057-9327600.
Jack will be laid to rest at Clonminch Cemetery on Saturday following midday funeral Mass at the Church of the Assumption Tullamore.