Northern Ireland news

Cookstown: Connor Currie was 'much loved and highly thought of'

Connor Currie was one of the three teenagers who died in the tragedy

A keen Gaelic footballer who was "much loved and highly thought of" is how a Co Tyrone GAA club has remembered Connor Currie.

Edendork GAC led tributes to the 16-year-old from Mullaghmarget Road near Dungannon, describing how he would be "forever be remembered with the greatest affection".

Connor and Morgan Barnard (17) were both pupils at St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon.

They were remembered by staff and pupils at an emotional prayer service in the school yesterday afternoon.

In a death notice, Conor's parents Eamon and Ciara and three siblings last night paid tribute to a "loving son" and "much loved brother".

The other victims: 

Morgan Barnard's father describes the family's devastation

Lauren Bullock remembered as 'a shining light'

In a statement posted on social media, Edendork GAC said: "As a club and community, we are deeply saddened and devastated to hear of the tragic passing of our much loved and highly thought of player and member Connor Currie.

"To Eamon, Ciara, Sean, Cormac, Cahir and to the wider Currie and Kelly families, we convey our deepest and heartfelt sympathies.

"Connor will forever be remembered with the greatest affection by all associated with our club and indeed the wider Edendork community.

"We are all in shock at Connor’s untimely passing, to lose a dear friend and team mate is one of the most difficult life experiences you will have to face."

Connor Currie was a pupil at St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon

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The club last night also held a prayer service at its clubrooms and offered professional counselling.

It said "should any of our young people need any assistance or someone to speak to in the time ahead" to call the Samaritans or Lifeline.

"As a club, it is important that we keep together and support each other through this difficult time," it added.

Dean Kevin Donaghy of the Dungannon parish was at both prayer services yesterday and said there was a "strong sense that the young people needed each other".

"The clubrooms were packed at Edendork," he said.

"These were two bright young lads with a big future ahead of them."

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Dozens of tributes were paid to the young boy on social media, with many describing their shock at his tragic death.

Among the tributes was one from a relative of Connor, who wrote: "A wee gentleman, I am so proud to be his aunt, we are completely devastated".

The tragedy unfolded at the Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown. Picture by Mark Marlow

Morgan and fellow victim Connor Currie were pupils at St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon.

In a statement published on Tuesday, the school said it was trying to come to terms with the loss of two "much loved and popular pupils".

"Morgan was an ambitious, charismatic young person with an abundance of potential studying Maths, Digital Technology, Business Studies and his absolute passion, Irish," it said. 

"He lifted the mood everywhere he went, everyone benefited from Morgan’s energetic, positive zest for life. It was contagious. His smile was bright and when Morgan was around, fun and laughter always followed.

"Connor was a kind-hearted, loyal friend. Always willing to help others, courteous, mannerly and compassionate. He had a great sense of team spirit and his warm, caring nature endeared him to all and earned him much deserved respect.

"Our school community will miss them both deeply. Our lives have been enriched by knowing them and they will always have a place in our hearts.

"Our prayer service yesterday afternoon and the time afterwards was very important for those who were close to Connor and Morgan and those who were witness to the events of Sunday night. 

"Time and facilities are available for pupils and staff today from 1.00pm. It is best for pupils to come in and talk together, share their experiences and seek guidance and support as they need it. We have our school counsellor available throughout the day and the Critical Incident Team will also be available for pupils over the coming days.

"We remember also Lauren and our friends in St. Patrick’s College as they too process their grief and devastation.

"This is a terrible tragedy for the families and friends of Morgan, Connor and Lauren and we keep them in our thoughts and prayers at this time and in the difficult time ahead."

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