Tributes paid to young Kildimo/Pallaskenry hurler (23) killed in tragic accident in Greece

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Tributes Paid To Young Kildimo/Pallaskenry Hurler (23) Killed In Tragic Accident In Greece Tributes Paid To Young Kildimo/Pallaskenry Hurler (23) Killed In Tragic Accident In Greece
Darren Whelan (pictured) died following a fall on the Greek island of Ios. Photo: Facebook, supplied by David Raleigh.
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David Raleigh

Tributes have been paid to a talented young Limerick hurler who lost his life in a tragic accident on the Greek island of Ios over the weekend.

The deceased, named locally as Darren Whelan from the parish of Kildimo/Pallaskenry, sustained fatal injuries after falling from a height sometime between last Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The 23-year-old, who had studied Civil Engineering at Limerick Institute of Technology, had travelled out to the Greek island with friends to celebrate graduating from college.

A Greek police source said local officers were investigating the incident but were understood to be treating Mr Whelan’s death as an accident.

Local Independent councillor and barrister Emmett O’Brien, who is a family friend, said his “thoughts and sympathies” were with Mr Whelan’s parents and his two brothers.

'Utter devastation'

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“His untimely passing has left utter devastation in the locality of Kildimo/Pallaskenry, he was the life and soul of the hurling team and the social fabric of the community.

“I often socialised with him, he was a lovely gentleman, very friendly, very intelligent, and he had a huge career in front of him.

“We are all shocked with numbness at his passing, he was a great kid,” Mr O’Brien said.

A college friend said Mr Whelan and a small group of friends had "gone away on a holiday to celebrate finishing college". "It is totally unexpected, we’re all shocked," they added.

“He was full of craic, he’d have you in stitches laughing, there was never any malice about him, he was a real comedian.

“He has a younger brother who is an electrician and an older brother who is a quantity surveyor. They were all involved in construction, a lot of his mates are in the construction industry, and he was big into hurling as well.”

Teammates

Sean Cuddihy, Secretary of Kildimo/Pallaskenry GAA club, said everyone at the club was devastated after hearing about Mr Whelan’s sudden passing.

“Our focus has been on getting his teammates together and supporting them. He was very versatile, he could play anywhere, and he did,” Mr Cuddihy said.

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“We are playing Senior hurling this year for the first time in our history and [Darren] played from half-back/midfield, to half-forward this year.

“We got all the players together and got a person who works in the mental health area to speak to them and outline basically how to look after themselves and each other over the next while, because it is going to take time for the body to come back and for the funeral.

“Absolutely, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the club will support the family in whatever way possible,” Mr Cuddihy added.

In a further tragic twist, Mr Whelan had been a close school friend of 19-year-old Jack Walsh, who fell to his death from a balcony at a hotel in Mallorca, Spain in June 2018.

Mr Walsh passed away at Son Espases University Hospital after sustaining critical head injuries in a 12m fall.

Both men had served together on the playing pitches at Coláiste Mhuire Askeaton.

A spokesman for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust confirmed it has been contacted to offer assistance to the Whelan family in helping to organise the repatriation of Mr Whelan’s remains for his funeral.

A spokeswoman at the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “The Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of the case and providing consular assistance. The Department does not comment on individual details of any specific case.”

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