THE FESTIVE season brought indescribable shock and sadness to the family and friends of 16-year-old schoolgirl Aoife Daly who died suddenly on Christmas Eve night.
Sports-mad Aoife of 25 The Ramblings, Piercestown became unexpectedly ill and died within a matter of hours at Wexford General Hospital.
The tragic death of the Loreto Transition Year student came without warning and stunned everyone who knew her.
Many of her friends and classmates were opening their presents on Christmas morning when they learned that she had died from a suspected virus.
They greeted the news with bewilderment and disbelief.
The close-knit parish of Piercestown was also rocked by the tragedy.
The grief was magnified by the cruel suddenness of her passing at a time of year which is supposed to bring joy and celebration.
Like her friends, Aoife had been looking forward to the excitement of Christmas Day.
No one could have foreseen that she wouldn't be around to open her own surprises.
Like the happy future that Aoife and her family were anticipating together, her shiny Christmas presents lay unopened, their promise undiscovered.
The popular teenager who was blossoming into a beautiful young woman is mourned by her heartbroken parents Valerie and Eugene; her big sisters Ciara and Orlagh; her grandparents; her aunts, uncles and cousins; extended family; friends; teammates; coaches, and teachers.
Aoife was a fit and active girl who played football and camogie with St. Martin's GAA Club; hockey with Wexford Hockey Club and the Loreto school, and rugby with Wexford Wanderers.
At Wexford Hockey Club, she coached underage players and at St. Martin's she was admired for her leadership in the dressing room.