Tributes paid to young Limerick sportsman who died on Greek island

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Tributes Paid To Young Limerick Sportsman Who Died On Greek Island
Niall O’Brien (right) with one of his hurling heroes Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: via Facebook
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David Raleigh

Tributes have been paid to a skilled Limerick sportsman and much-loved son who died while holidaying in Greece overnight.

The deceased, named locally as Niall O’Brien from Castletroy, aged in his 20s, died after sustaining serious head injuries on the Greek island of Ios.

It is understood Mr O’Brien, who was holidaying with a group of 20 friends at the time, was struck by a car after a fall.

His body is to be taken to Athens for a post mortem, an informed source said.

RTÉ reports that a young man was arrested and was helping police with their enquiries.

Mr O’Brien, a third year student at the University of Limerick, was a star player with Broadford GAA Club in southeast Co Clare, and a member of Castletroy Golf Club, in his native Limerick.

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“Niall was a brilliant sportsman, he was a serious hurler, he was huge into golf and GAA, soccer, everything really,” said a source.

“He was an unassuming lad, and he had recently recovered from a hernia operation and he was thrilled that he had got the go ahead to play golf again.”

“This is just a terrible tragedy. Niall was the nicest lad you could ever have met, and the whole community just can’t believe what has happened.”

“He had worked part-time behind the bar at Castletroy Golf Club. His father, Mike, is from Clare and that’s why Niall was playing with Broadford and he he used to get a load of slagging for that, but it was all good banter.”

Mr O’Brien’s parents, along with their three other sons, were being comforted by neighbours and friends at their home as they tried to come to terms with their sudden and tragic loss.

Repatriation

A spokesman for The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust confirmed it was liaising with the deceased’s family in order to help arrange to repatriate his remains home for burial.

A spokesman at the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was “aware of the case and is providing consular assistance” to the family.

“As with all consular cases, the Department does not comment on the details of any specific case,” they added.

Police on Ios have been contacted for comment.

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A spokeswoman for Castletroy Golf Club said it was preparing a statement to be sent to club members.

Mr O’Brien was the second Limerick person to die on Ios in a little over a month.

Darren Whelan (23) from Kildimo, Co Limerick, a talented hurler with Kildimo Pallaskenry GAA Club, was holidaying with friends on the Greek island when he fell to his death on July 11th.

A close friend of Mr Whelan’s, Jack Walsh (19), died in similar circumstances at Mallorca, Spain, in June 2018 when he sustained fatal head injuries in a fall from a hotel balcony.

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