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Family heartbreak as GAA player (16) dies while training

THESE are the pictures which show tragic teenage GAA star James Fitzgerald enjoying a family wedding just seven months ago.

James (16), from Charleville in north Cork, was in a friend's gym doing weights on Saturday afternoon when he suddenly became unwell and died.

The teenager's death is the third major tragedy to strike the Fitzgerald family, who are described as being "steeped in GAA" and "a main pillar of the GAA Club in Charleville".

His older brother Dessie suffered temporary paralysis after a freak accident on the hurling field in 2011, from which he is still recovering.

Meanwhile, his brother Michael (23) died in tragic circumstances in 2011.


A local described the death of James as a "huge tragedy" and said the Fitzgerald family had been through a lot.

In happier times last March, James was Dessie's groomsman at his wedding to Sarah McEvoy, who is also from Charleville.

The couple tied the knot in a private ceremony at Holy Cross Church in the north Cork town just five months after Dessie's accident.

His other brother Conor was his best man on the day.

The couple celebrated with a reception at Ballyseede Castle Hotel, Tralee, Co Kerry.

Speaking of the accident, which occurred in October 2011, Dessie said his family and his fiancee had been a huge support to him.

"Both Sarah and my family, they have been absolutely amazing. I don't think I'd be where I am now if I didn't have their support and there's a lot of support from the whole GAA community," he said on RTE.

Charleville GAA club posted a message of condolence to his family on their website yesterday.

"Charleville Gaa are devastated at the sudden passing of our young player James Fitzgerald, a model player and someone every young player looked up to always with a smile. Even at such a young age you were an idol for all. You will be sadly missed."

Tribute pages were set up on Twitter with hundreds of people paying their respects.

A Requiem Mass will take place on Thursday at 2pm in the Holy Cross Church, Charleville.

James is survived by his parents Des and Geraldine and his brothers Conor and Dessie.

Charleville parish priest Canon Sean Cotter told the Herald: "This is a huge blow. The entire community has been sympathising with the family at this very sad time.

"There are just 400 people in the parish and we are a very close community. It's a terrible tragedy."