By Eoin Kelleher
THE Funeral has taken place of 13-year-old Dean Byrne, whose death while out swimming with friends near Cashel on Friday has shocked and stunned the locality.
Dean was swept to his death by a current in the River Suir at about 4pm on Friday, just as he was beginning to enjoy the summer holidays having completed his first year at Cashel Community School.
His parents, Liam and Shirley Byrne, brothers Allan and Kevin, and grandparents Eddie and Mary, were comforted by friends and relatives at the Funeral Mass on Monday, led by Fr Christy O’Dwyer. The Funeral in St John The Baptist’s Church was attended by a huge gathering of grieving schoolmates, staff of Cashel Community School, and his teammates with Cashel Town FC, for whom Dean played Under 14. Dean’s father Liam is involved in the local motorbike club, which was also represented. His granddad Eddie Ryan, is an ambulance driver and is also widely known around town. A prayer service was held on Sunday in Cashel Community School for Dean, attended by the whole school body and led by School Chaplain Fr Bernie Moloney. As a token of his keen interest in soccer, his teammates at Cashel FC formed a guard of honour for his removal to nearby Cormac’s Cemetery. On Sunday a football was one of the gifts offered up to the altar.
Dean got into trouble while swimming at an area known as Castle Lake, located some three miles from Cashel on the Golden Road. Friends raised the alarm, and a search and rescue operation was carried out by local emergency services and the rescue helicopter based in Waterford. The rescue crew found the boy at the scene and he was conveyed to Waterford Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Gardaí in Thurles also aided the search and rescue attempt.
Principal of Cashel Community School Eddie Morrissey extended his sympathies to Dean’s parents Liam and Shirley, Fifth Year student Allan, younger brother Kevin and who attends the local Primary School. “It’s a huge shock for his classmates, his teachers, and his friends,” said Mr Morrissey, who described Dean as all round good student and popular with classmates.
Cllr Eddie Bennett, who lives across from Dean’s family in Oliver Plunkett Park said he knew the family for years. “He was a great soccer player. He trained with Michael Doyle and Pat Fahey, and he was a great Manchester Utd fan. He was very popular and very well known.”