Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid following death of young ladies' footballer Kerrie Canning (18)

Kerrie Canning (18) died suddenly on Friday
Seamus McKinney

TRIBUTES have been paid to a young Co Derry footballer following her sudden death.

It is understood that Kerrie Canning (18), a student at St Mary’s College in Derry who was about to sit her A-level examinations, took her own life.

A keen GAA player, she played football with John Mitchel’s GAC in her native Claudy.

She recently attended interviews at Queen’s University where she hoped to undertake a degree in nursing following her exams.

News of her death was met with shock in Claudy where Kerrie was well known through a part-time job in a local shop.

Tributes were also paid from across the GAA world and on social media sites connected to St Mary's College.

In a statement, St Mary's principal Marie Lyndsay said the school learned of her death on Friday with profound sadness.

“Kerrie joined the St Mary’s family in September 2016 from St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s, Claudy, choosing to study art, religious studies and health and social care," she said.

“Kerrie was a popular and well-respected student in her peer group. She always had a glowing smile and an infectious laugh that could warm any heart.

"Kerrie showed great potential and had set her sights on studying nursing at Queen’s University."

The school principal extended condolences to Kerrie’s mother and father, Martine and Willie, and her sister Nikki on behalf of St Mary’s and the wider community.

“We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers. May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace,” she said.

A spokesman for John Mitchels said the club was at a loss to know what to say.

“Nothing will make the pain of Kerrie’s passing any easier on her family or on the many young people who valued her friendship.

"On behalf of everyone in John Mitchel’s GAC, we extend our sincerest sympathies and our heartfelt prayers to Kerrie’s entire family.

“We are mindful too of the pain that will be felt by all of Kerrie’s many, many friends: those who grew up with her, those who went to school with her, those who played football with her and those who socialised with her."

The spokesman added that it was important that everyone who was grieving for Kerrie should know that there is someone who cared for them and about them.

“You will grieve, just don’t be afraid to reach out to someone if you want to talk about things,” he said.

Sympathy was also extended to Kerrie’s family and John Mitchel’s GAC by the Derry Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association.

Kerrie’s funeral will take place this morning from her home at Glenshane Road, Claudy to St Patrick’s Church for Requiem Mass at 11am, with interment afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Anyone affected by this story or by Kerrie’s death can access help and support by contacting the Lifeline helpline on 0808 808800.

St Mary's College principal Marie Lyndsay paid tribute to Kerrie

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