Oisín McGrath tragedy: Parents speak of 'devastating' loss

Oisín McGrath, who was fatally injured following an incident at school.
Brendan Hughes

THE parents of a 13-year-old boy who died after being injured at school have opened up about life after the "devastating" loss of their son.

Co Fermanagh was plunged into mourning in February following the shock death of young GAA fan Oisín McGrath.

The schoolboy died in hospital after suffering serious head injuries during an incident while playing football at St Michael's College in Enniskillen.

For four days Oisín's distraught family maintained a vigil at his hospital bedside following the tragedy at the Catholic boys' grammar school.

His parents Sharon and Nigel McGrath made the heartbreaking decision to donate his organs after being told he would not recover.

Almost three months on, Oisín's parents have launched a charitable foundation in his memory, the Oisín McGrath Foundation.

It aims to promote organ donation, raise funds for brain injury research and help develop sporting initiatives for young people.

Sharon said it was a "difficult" to donate Oisín's organs but they hoped it would encourage others faced with a similar decision.

"Oisín gave the gift of life to five people. We get some comfort knowing that his heart still beats on and that something positive has come out of this," she said.

"It was the right thing to do, we feel, knowing Oisín's generosity of spirit that he would have wanted us to do it.

"We hope that Oisin's story will inspire other people and families to consider organ donation.

"We hope it will encourage everyone to talk about it as a family so that each is clear how other family members feel about it."

Oisín lived in Belcoo with his parents and two younger sisters Ciana (11) and Cairenn (6).

The family are well-known in the community for their involvement in Belcoo GAA club, where Oisín played under-14 football and his mother Sharon is club secretary.

Nigel (44), who works for Tesco, said as the weeks go on their sense of loss "grows".

"The last few months have been horrific and we are completely devastated that Oisín is not here and our lives will never be the same without him," he said.

"One of the worst things is that Ciana and Cairenn don't have their big brother around to wind up, have the craic with or get advice from.

"We can't imagine the rest of our lives without Oisín and are praying that we get strength for the days ahead."

On Sunday a special GAA match will be held in memory Oisín with donations going towards the new foundation.

The match between Fermanagh and Sligo senior county teams will be held at Brewster Park in Enniskillen at 6.30pm.

Sharon (42), technical services manager for South West College, said the family appreciated all the support they have received both locally and across the globe.

"The support from the GAA family and wider community has been overwhelming," she said.

"We have received prayers and support from all over the world and from all denominations. We appreciate these prayers deeply."

Paying tribute to Oisín, Sharon described him as a "special son".

"He will be forever missed by all who loved and adored him," she said.

"There is an Oisín-shaped hole in our hearts that nothing can fill. He was our brief rainbow and we were so lucky and blessed to have had him but he had so much more to give. We will all forever miss that cheeky smile and the banter."

:: Visit to donate to the Oisín McGrath Foundation and for details on the Match for Oisín


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