Tributes paid to sledging tragedy teenager
Tributes have been paid to a popular, sports-loving teenager who died when her sled ploughed into a tree.
Aoife Downey, 15, died and her three friends were injured when they played on a home-made sled in a suburb of Cork city Saturday afternoon.
The talented sports star played camogie and football with Douglas GAA, representing her county in both games.
Fiona Shine, Douglas GAA club secretary, said youngsters in the area were devastated by the tragic accident.
"Aoife was a very popular girl. She was fabulous," said Ms Shine.
"She was a great kid. A live wire. I'm just absolutely devastated."
Aoife lived with her parents Sean and Siobhan and two young sisters in Frankfield, Cork city.
Her sled apparently built up substantial speed as it slid down a steep hill at Frankfield Golf Club close to their home.
Ms Shine said Aoife's wide circle of friends were in shock.
Scores of teenagers were expected to attend a mass and carol service dedicated to the youngster in Frankfield parish church this evening.
Heartbroken members of Douglas GAA will also form a guard of honour at the funeral service for Aoife, who attended Christ King Secondary School. A date for the funeral has not yet been set.
Ms Shine said Aoife was part of the camogie team who won All Ireland Feile in 2009 and previously played camogie for Cork Colleges under 14s and GAA football for Cork County under 16s.
She also played soccer with Douglas Hall LFC until she recently quit to study for her Junior Certificate.
"Douglas is a very close community so everybody would have known her because she was always out and about and would be part of everything." she added.
"We have a DVD of the Feile final last year and all the girls have gone to one of their houses to watch it. They're devastated. It's dreadful."
Local councillor Sean Martin, whose twin daughters were friends with Aoife, said the teenager also shone academically.
"She was larger than life," said Cllr Martin.
"She was a bubbly person. A person who was always good for a laugh.
"She was confident and would always help others and praise them to bring them along.
"Aoife was genuinely a nice girl. All the girls are devastated."