A FAMILY has spoken of their heartbreak after a sports-obsessed teen died from suspected Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS).
Shane Murphy (16) collapsed and died just 10 minutes into the second-half of a Cork Vocational Colleges semi-final as his older brother watched on in horror.
His death brings to three the number of youngsters claimed by SDS in the community in the space of just 10 weeks.
Just 48 hours earlier, aspiring model Deirdre Lynch (20) collapsed and died as she worked as a waitress at a Douglas restaurant in Cork city.
Shane's aunt Marie told the Irish Independent that the tragedy has devastated not just their tightknit family but the entire Clondrohid and Ballyvourney communities.
"Shane absolutely loved his sports. He was swinging a hurley and kicking footballs from as soon as he could walk," she said.
"Shane played both hurling and football and was captain of the Clondrohid U-15 hurling team that won the county title last year. He was so popular and was a born leader . . . the youngsters looked up to him. We cannot believe what happened."
Shane was also a key member of Ballyvourney's Colaiste Ghobnatan panel that aimed to lift the Cork Vocational Colleges title this season.
Shane was playing in the semi-final against Kinsale at Carrigadrohid last Monday when, just 10 minutes into the second half, he suddenly collapsed.
Mentors raced on to the pitch and desperately tried to revive him.
The match was immediately abandoned and distraught players were comforted on the sidelines by teachers and parents.
Paramedics were at the scene within minutes and Shane was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH). He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
"Everyone at the match was wonderful. They did everything they possibly could to help but it was no use," his aunt said.
It is suspected that Shane died from a cardiac attack linked to SDS.
Students at Colaiste Ghobnatan were devastated by the tragedy. Counselling support services were supervised yesterday by school staff and all students were sent home early after special prayers for Shane.
Shane is survived by his parents, Dan and Marguerite, and his siblings, Neilus, Colin, Daniel and Caoimhe.
His father works as a cabinet maker in west Cork and his entire family are deeply involved in the GAA.
Clondrohid GAA club said it was shocked by the tragedy. "Our thoughts and sympathies are with the Murphy family on this tragic occasion," a GAA official said.
Meanwhile, hundreds last night attended the removal of model Deirdre Lynch (20), who collapsed and died last Saturday as she worked at Eco's restaurant.
In October, talented hurler James Fitzgerald (16), from Charleville in north Cork, collapsed and died as he was working out with some gym equipment.