Gortnahoe mourns Camogie player (10)

Emily Wilson, pictured here wearing her Gortnahoe GAA colours.
THE tightly-knit community of Gortnahoe- Glengoole is coming to terms this week with the tragic death of a young girl who died just before she was due to take part in a local camogie game.

THE tightly-knit community of Gortnahoe- Glengoole is coming to terms this week with the tragic death of a young girl who died just before she was due to take part in a local camogie game.

The tightly-knit community of Gortnahoe is struggling to come to terms this week with the tragic death of Emily Wilson (10), who died just moments before she was due to take part in a local camogie game on Saturday.

Professionally trained Counsellors from the National Educational Psychological Service are being arranged to talk with Emily’s friends and classmates in Gortnahoe National School this Thursday, while a special Prayer Service is planned for 11.15am in the school’s main hall on Friday (May 10).

Fr John O’Rourke described Emily - a fourth class pupil - as an “intelligent child” who took a keen interest in school and sport. “She was an altar server for over 12 months. It’s really heartbreaking. Emily was the pride and joy of her mother and father. How can any parent come to terms with this?” Parents need to talk to their children during this time, and to understand their fears, said Fr O’Rourke.

Emily collapsed while warming up for a match at the sports field in the village just a few miles east of Thurles. Paramedics rushed to the scene and tried everything to save her life, including using the club’s defibrillators. However, they were unable to revive her, despite pleas from her stricken parents, Mick and Catriona.

Emily suffered a suspected heart attack, though an initial post-mortem has not confirmed if this is linked to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome - a medical condition which has caused the unexpected deaths of other young people involved in sport. Onlookers describe seeing her collapse just minutes before the start of the underage match at Gortnahoe-Glengoole GAA grounds at around 9.30am on Saturday. She was carried to the side of the pitch for CPR, and frantic efforts were made to resuscitate her. Emily was later taken to South Tipperary General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Emily’s mother Caitriona Clutterbuck, from Ballingarry, is a renowned poet and lecturer in English at UCD. Her husband Nick Wilson is from Cambridge in England. His family are travelling from the UK this week for the funeral. The couple were comforted over the weekend by friends and neighbours. The are said to be “inconsolable” at the loss of their only child.

Emily’s remains will repose in Doyle’s funeral home in Urlingford, with a Mass of the Angels at 11.30am on Wednesday followed by burial in the Good Shepard Cemetery. Tributes have been flooding into Gortnahoe National School’s Facebook page. A message reads: “Sincere sympathy to all Emily’s family, our thoughts and prayers are with you.”