A little boy who was tragically killed in an accident has been laid to rest in a Tipperary jersey signed by his sporting hero.
Alan Quirke, who was just 11, lost his life following an accident on the family farm at Brenshamore, near Tipperary Town, last Wednesday evening.
He had been looking forward to meeting his hero, Tipp hurler Padraic Maher the next morning during the Lattin Cullen GAA summer camp but instead the little boy was buried in a Tipperary hurling jersey that his idol signed in his memory.
The parishes of Lattin Cullen and nearby Tipperary Town were shocked and saddened to learn of Alan’s death.
The tragic accident happened at about 5.15pm last Wednesday, at the Quirke’s home, just three miles from Tipperary Town, as his father Pat left to travel the short distance to his dairy farm for the routine evening milking.
Alan had been with his friends at the house when he attempted to jump on to his dad’s jeep and livestock trailer as it pulled away from the house, but he lost his footing.
His mother, Imelda, his dad and neighbour Breda Corcoran tended to Alan while waiting for the ambulance service, who arrived quickly on the scene. He was transferred to South Tipp General Hospital where he lost his fight to recover from injuries sustained during the accident.
Alan was described as a fun loving boy who loved life and lived it to the full. He loved GAA and playing hurling and football for his school, Mount Bruis and his club, Lattin Cullen.
An all-round sportsman, even at 11 Alan had been spotted as one of the best young hurlers in Lattin Cullen GAA club and was even tipped to be one to make it as senior Tipperary hurler.
He was also a keen soccer player with St. David’s Cullen Soccer Club and a good tennis player with Lattin Tennis Club. He also liked swimming and basketball.
Alan would have been starting sixth class at Mount Bruis national school in a few weeks time, where he was a good student.
Not just a sportsman, Alan also loved music and was learning to play the guitar and tin whistle at classes run by Lattin Comhaltas.
He adored spending time with his large circle of friends and cousins and there were never enough hours in the day for him.
The middle son of Pat and Imelda Quirke, Alan has two brothers, Liam who is 14 and Gary, who is eight.
Pat is a well known dairy farmer who is in the top 50 dairy farmers in the country. Imelda, nee Lowry, comes from a family that is very involved in Arravale Rovers GAA club.
Alan’s funeral was attended by huge crowds, at his home last Friday and at his funeral mass which was celebrated at the Church of the Assumption, Lattin, where Alan had served as an alter boy.
Burial took place afterwards in St. Michael’s cemetery in Tipperary Town.
On both days there was a huge effort by neighbours, friends and the local GAA club to control traffic and organise refreshments for the mourners, which is appreciated by the family.
The GAA, soccer and tennis clubs all formed a guard of honour for Alan’s coffin as it made its way to the church, the main part of which were his under 12 team-mates with whom he won a West Tipperary Football under 12 B medal just a few months ago.
He will be sadly missed by his heartbroken parents Pat and Imelda, his brothers, granny Eileen Quirke and nana Rita Lowry, uncles, aunts, relatives and friends.
West Tipp Bord na nOg extended its deepest sympathy to the Quirke family. As a mark of respect to Alan a minute’s silence was observed before all the U12 Hurling West Finals at Sean Treacy Park on Sunday last.
Lattin GAA Club’s Cul Camp was cancelled following the tragedy, as was a summer camp to be held at Lattin Tennis Club.
Tipperary County GAA Board extended its deepest sympathy, saying Alan was a talented player with the Lattin-Cullen GAA club. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam og dilis.
Last weekend all Lattin Cullen and Arravale matches were cancelled.
A bus that had been organised to travel from the Lattin area to this weekend’s hurling All Ireland semi final, in Croke Park, has also been cancelled as a mark of respect. Last year Alan travelled on the bus with his parents nad brothers.