A close-knit village was in shock last night after a teenage GAA star was killed in a car crash.
Liam Tolan died shortly after midnight yesterday morning when the vehicle he was travelling in hit a ditch less than a mile from his home in Curraha, near Ashbourne, Co Meath.
The promising Meath minor footballer, who was travelling back with friends from a 21st birthday party, had scored a point in the Leinster MFC quarter-final against Offaly just hours before the tragic accident.
Curraha parish priest Fr Philip Gaffney said the community was still coming to terms with the news of the 17-year-old's death.
"Liam was a very well-known young lad because of his talent and his character," he said.
"He was very likeable and popular and a gifted footballer. It's a huge blow to the parish."
The teenager, a passenger in the car, was taken by ambulance to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan, where he was pronounced dead.
His young companions - the driver and another passenger - escaped from the crash uninjured.
Fr Gaffney said the schoolboy's parents and brother were in a state of shock.
"They're a very close-knit family and they're absolutely devastated, but there's great support in the community," he added.
"For the two other lads who were in the car it must be an awful blow to them as well."
The Meath minor corner-forward got involved in GAA as a small child and also played for local club Skryne GFC.
"He was a lovely, mannerly chap - a great leader in the club who always listened and took everything on board," Skryne's Mick Whelan said.
"He could outrun anybody and he had a great future, without a doubt."
Meath minor football committee chairman Brendan Dempsey said Liam lived for the game.
"All his fellow players are just in shock, as are his school friends," he added.
"He was a pleasant young man who lived for his football and he had a promising career ahead of him.
"Unfortunately it's been cut short and we'll never know how far he could have gone."
Gardai have appealed for witnesses to the crash.
© Press Association