herald

Monday 26 September 2016

Tributes are paid to boy (13) who lost his life in Liffey tragedy

Flowers at the scene where a 13 year old boy died after a drowning accident in the River Liffey, Dublin
Flowers at the scene where a 13 year old boy died after a drowning accident in the River Liffey, Dublin

The family of a Dublin teen who drowned in the River Liffey have been left reeling after his death.

Frank Leonel Mekang (13) was a player with the Usher Celtic soccer club and attended school in Clondalkin.

On Saturday, he got into difficulty after entering the water between Islandbridge and Chapelizod shortly after 2pm.

The Garda sub aqua team attended the scene and his body was removed from the water at around 4pm.

On Saturday evening some relatives of the teen visited the site where he drowned.

Members of his football club laid floral tributes at the site on Sunday afternoon and local priest Fr Richie Goode offered prayers at the site.

Tributes laid at the scene described the young footballer as someone who was "always smiling" and who could "put a smile on anyone's face".

Another mourner described the young man as an "inspiration".

It is the second tragedy to hit the young members of the inner city football club.

Lorcan O'Reilly (21), who died from stab wounds after he intervened in a fight on Halloween night in the Oliver Bonds flat complex, was also a member of the club.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Criona Ni Dhalaigh, who represents the Dublin 8 area where Frank lived, extended her sympathies to his loved ones last night.

"My heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, local community and his teammates who are reeling from one death and now there is another youngster who has been lost, who was very much a part of the team," she told the Herald. "It took them a long time to come to terms with Lorcan's death and now this."

Family members and well-wishers gathered at the young boy's family home in the inner city last night to comfort his grieving mother and siblings.

On Saturday morning, Frank's team played a game against Sheriff YC near where the accident occurred.

The Dublin and District Schoolboys League (DDSL) issued a short statement on their social media account.

Harrowing

"On behalf of the clubs in the DDSL - we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Usher Celtic Football Club on the tragic death of their young player today following their game in Memorial Park," the statement said.

Condolences also flooded in from football clubs around the city following the news.

Despite the harrowing events of Saturday afternoon, yesterday a group of teens gathered at the swimming spot and could be seen jumping into the water, surrounded by floral tributes.

The teens seemed unfazed to be swimming at the site of the tragic incident just a day after the young boy's body was removed from the river.

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