'Cloud over the town': Shock as rising star (21) dies after falling ill at football training
Tributes have been paid to a talented young footballer who died suddenly over the weekend.
Adam Mulchrone (21), who played for Westport United FC in Mayo, reported feeling unwell while training with the club on Saturday morning.
The Sligo IT student passed away the following day. There is no official cause of death for the young man, but meningitis is suspected.
In the period between the December 24, 2018 and January 29, 2019 the HSE recorded 23 cases in various strains of meningitis and in a number of locations across the country.
The local Westport community has reacted in shock at the death of the popular 21-year old with many saying he had a bright future ahead of him both on and off the pitch.
Chair of Westport United Myles Staunton said the club was "devastated about it and he was a great guy".
In a statement posted online he went on to say: "The club is shocked and deeply saddened to hear this terrible news.
"On the football pitch, Adam was a key member of our flagship Super League Team and was an exciting and skilful player whose talents were recognised.
"Off the pitch he was a quietly spoken, self-assured and modest young man, who was a credit to his family and who was hugely respected by his fellow players and indeed all supporters within the club."
Local TD and Minister for Rural Affairs and Community Development, Michael Ring, who previously played with Westport United, said "there is a cloud over the town of Westport since we heard the news".
"It's heartbreaking to see such a fine young man taken from this life so suddenly," he said.
"I know that the club and the community will rally behind Adam's family in the difficult times ahead."
In 2017, Adam, who had played with Westport since he was 13, won Young Sports Person of the Year at the Mayo Football awards.
The club's manager, Pádraig Burns, described him as a "skilful and technically accomplished" and telling of the "heartbreak" felt by his teammates in the wake of his passing.
"There are no words that can come close to describing the feeling of devastation and heartbreak in our team," he said.
"We trained on Saturday and Adam was with us and we were looking forward to a big Connaught Cup game on Sunday and then everything just paled into insignificance when we heard what had happened Adam.
"He was just the most genuine, decent and such a respectful young man who we all loved dearly.
"He was a quiet young man but when he got on to a football pitch he did his talking with his boots… and I have no doubt that he would have gone on to have had a hugely distinguished career with Westport United".
Local councillor Christy Hyland said Adam was highly thought of in the community.
"I know the family a long time and a very respectable family they are," he said.
"They're highly thought of and this is a tragic occasion for their whole family. Adam was a fine footballer and totally dedicated to fitness which he did with pride."
As well as playing for his home football team, he also played with the men's football team at Sligo IT where he was studying.
The college said the young man "was the perfect example of what we look for in a player, technically outstanding, loved the ball at his feet".
"Most importantly Adam was a team player who always put the team first," it added.