Water safety plea at funeral of drowning victim Kyle (10)
SWIMMERS and watersports enthusiasts have been urged to exercise maximum caution as tributes were paid to a 10-year-old who drowned in treacherous currents in front of his shocked parents.
Kyle Roche, from Youghal, Co Cork, drowned despite the heroic efforts of his parents and over a dozen locals to rescue him from the rip tides off Moll Goggin's Strand in the popular seaside resort last Thursday.
Kyle was described as "an absolute star" at his Mass of the Angels in the Holy Family Church in Youghal yesterday.
Father Pat Winkle said the entire community was united in sharing the terrible grief of Kyle's family.
"You are in all our prayers at this time of darkness and sadness," he said.
"Every fibre of our being tells us (the tragic death of a youngster) should not happen. But every life has a purpose. Even such a short life (as Kyle's).
"One of the prayers that he learned for his Holy Communion contained the line: 'Bring us to heaven to live with you there.' Today may be a sombre and sad day but it is also a day for faith," he added.
Fr Winkle also said that the Gospel reading about the Good Samaritan was particularly apt given how many people had desperately tried to help Kyle and how the community had rallied behind his family in their time of tragedy.
The mourners were led by his parents, Vivienne and Eugene, and his brothers, Dean, Ricky and Reece.
Kyle was playing with his younger brother, Dean, on the seashore just minutes before the tragedy occurred at 5pm last Thursday and Dean had raised the alarm.
The mourners also included Eugene Sheils, the pedestrian who heroically dived into the sea and made repeated dives in a bid to drag the little boy free of the current.
Also represented was Youghal Inshore Lifeboat who brought Kyle's body to the pier as well as gardai, RNLI, Irish Coast Guard and Youghal Town Council officials.
A special guard of honour was provided by Kyle's former third class schoolmates at Bunscoil Mhuire and his teammates at Youghal FC.
Kyle, who was in the same class as Dean, had been eagerly anticipating going into fourth class and had already picked out a new schoolbag. The school choir also provided the hymns for the heartbreaking service.
Bunscoil Mhuire board of management chairman, Ned Brennan, said the entire school was numbed by the tragedy.
"He was a wonderful boy, an absolute joy to have in the school. We are all heartbroken by what happened," he said.
Kyle was a lifelong sports fan and the offertory gifts yesterday reflected his love of soccer, GAA and rugby.
His dream had been to play soccer one day for Ireland. Following the Mass of the Angels, Kyle was buried in North Abbey Cemetery.