A RUGBY-mad eight-year-old has died after being hit by an SUV.
Ben Markey was playing rugby with a group of friends in the car park of Enniscorthy RFC when he was hit by the car.
His parents, Tony and Gillian Markey, of Aclare House, Aclare, Myshall, Co Carlow, are said to be inconsolable.
The tragedy happened at around 7pm on Saturday evening when the young boy was seriously injured when he was struck by a sports utility vehicle in the car park of the rugby club at around 7.15p.m.
The youngster – one of four children – was immediately transferred to Wexford General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
A post-mortem is due to be carried out at Waterford Regional Hospital.
Gardai cordoned off the scene following the tragedy for a forensic examination.
The young boy was attending a junior rugby presentation evening in the club, founded in 1912, at the end of what had been a very successful season for the junior section of this thriving club in Enniscorthy.
Young Ben was out playing with rugby friends in the surrounds of the club when the accident occurred.
His father Tony is a well-known member of the Enniscorthy Club, where he is an under-age coach. Ben played at under-10 level for the club.
A family friend told of Ben being a happy, healthy and active child, who loved rugby.
"He lived for his evenings and weekends playing rugby with his club friends and colleagues. His father is very much part of the under-age section of the club.
"It's a terrible tragedy for the family, who are also very much part of the Myshall parish."
Members of Enniscorthy Rugby Club are in total shock and there was heartbreak in the small rural parish of Myshall as news of the tragedy filtered through on Saturday evening.
Figures compiled by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show that a total of 161 people were killed on Irish roads in 2012 – 25 fewer than in 2011 and down by 51 from 2010.
Gardai have expressed concern about pedestrians – some 22pc of those killed last year were pedestrians or cyclists.
Road Safety Authority chairman Gay Byrne has expressed concern about a fall in Garda Traffic Corps numbers.