WEXFORD'S sporting community has paid fitting tribute to talented young hurler, Gaelic footballer and rugby player Jack Pettit, who died suddenly at his home in Broadway last week.
His friends, family and the wider community within the GAA and all of south Wexford and further afield were stunned to hear of his untimely passing last Monday.
Jack, the son of Liam and Julie Pettit, and a brother of David, was laid to rest last Friday at Our Lady's Island cemetery following his Requiem Mass at the Church of the Assumption, in the village.
Contacted by this newspaper, Cllr Ger Carthy, a club colleague and local councillor said: 'Lady's Island and the wider community are devastated at Jack's passing.'
'Jack was known to many as a friendly young man, a true gentleman who was always mannerly and polite to all. It was certainly my privilege to have known him. We will remember Jack as a master of the sports field, a gentleman off it and a true friend to many,' said Cllr Carthy.
Several tributes were paid to Jack during Friday's funeral Mass, by his mother Julie, his brother David, and a lengthier reflection from his parents read out by Fr Brian Whelan.
There was a huge attendance at the Mass, with the church full to overflowing from 11.10 a.m. for the midday funeral service. Hundreds of young people in particular from south Wexford and further afield attended to pay their respects to a popular, much-loved friend.
GAA was a key part of Jack's all-too-short life - a talented hurler and gaelic footballer, he represented his county at Intermediate level in 2016. The 20 year old was a former student of St Peter's in Wexford, where he was named Sportsman of the Year in 2016, and he played for his local club Our Lady's Island from the age of six.
He represented both club, and county at various underage levels, and represented Wexford at every level from under-13 to intermediates including the Leinster minor championships in 2015.
The Our Lady's Island Junior team was playing at Horeswood last Monday evening when word of Jack's death began filtering through and the match was called off.
Wexford GAA said it had lost one of its young sons.
'The thoughts and prayers of the entire GAA community are with his parents, Liam and Julie, brother David, grandparents, all his relatives and wide circle of friends at this tragic time.
'Our Lady's Island GAA Club said the Pettit family have given unwavering support to Our Lady's Island GAA Club over many decades and their loss and ours will be immeasurable. Jack was a gifted hurler, fierce competitor and had the ability to win the hearts of everyone he met.'
St Fintan's GAA Club said it would like to extend its deepest sympathies to Liam, Julie and David Pettit on the desperately sad passing of their wonderful son and brother, Jack.
'Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Jacks family and to his many young friends as well as his extended GAA family in Our Lady's Island club and community. Jack will be remembered as a gifted footballer and hurler who has represented Our Lady's Island/St.Fintans since the tender age of six progressing through underage level representing club and county.
'Last year we had the immense pleasure of having Jack play with our Intermediate football team where he made a huge impact on the field. Aside of his sporting talents Jack will be remembered as a lovely lad, always in the thick of things, always enjoying the "craic", always courteous, always pleasant and a lad who always stopped to say hello.
'Jack's circle of friends is huge and stretches many local villages aswell as across many Counties. We ask his friends to look after each other at this awful time, to mind each other and to always engage in conversation with each other, to talk and to listen.'
Wexford Wanderers extended our deepest sympathies to the Pettit family. 'Jack will be remembered by us as a great rugby player, but an even better teammate and person.'
St Mary's Rosslare GAA & Camogie Club extended its sympathies to Jack's famly on the 'desperately sad passing of their wonderful son and brother'.
'Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Jack's family. We ask his friends to look after each other at this awful time.'