A FREAK accident in Qatar has claimed the lives of a popular young Co Down teacher and his girlfriend.
Eamonn Morgan (24) who was originally from Newry and played for St John Bosco GAA club, and Charlotte Sant from Manchester, were killed on Saturday after a sand-buggy they were travelling in veered off a steep incline along sand dunes.
It is understood the couple were passengers in the vehicle.
Two other friends visiting from Ireland were also injured. It is not thought that their injuries are life threatening.
A past-pupil of St Colman’s college in Newry, Eamonn had graduated from John Moore’s university in Liverpool last year and took up a sports teaching post in Doha city in Qartar last August.
A GAA fanatic, he had played for both the junior and senior Bosco teams and was also a member of the Qatar GAA club.
He was hailed last night for his coaching work with children both at home and abroad.
Charlotte, who was also teaching in a Doha school, had joined the local GAA club last year.
The pair had met when studying in Liverpool.
Poignant tributes were paid last night by Qatar GAA chairperson Peter Crowe who said they mourned the loss with a “heavy heart”.
“For the Irish abroad, a GAA club can offer much more than the team. It offers a sense of community, a sense of family, a home away from home and Qatar GAA is no different,” he said.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of two of our members, two of our friends, two of our family.
“I had the privilege of playing with Eamonn for the past year, an absolute gent, never to be seen without a smile on his face and the definition of a ‘character’ as we’d say back home.
“I also had the pleasure of training Charlotte for the past year – a sweet girl, who took to a new sport with more enthusiasm than you could ever ask for.”
“People often don’t realise at home how much of a community can be built away from home but I can tell you, sincerely, that Eamonn and Charlotte were very much central to the community that is Qatar GAA.”
Aidan Shields, a close family friend and long-standing member of St John’s Bosco said they were devastated by the tragedy.
“Eamonn was an absolute gentleman and always had a smile on his face,” he said.
“He was passionate about working with children and did fantastic work with under-eights and under-10 teams in the Bosco.”