herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Hero Hassan (15) celebrating his two goals when he collapsed and died

Hassan Taiwo
Hassan Taiwo

A schoolboy who died after collapsing during a football match in front of his father had been celebrating with friends moments before the tragedy unfolded.

Hassan Taiwo (15) had scored two vital goals for Merlin Wood during their match against Salthill Devon on Sunday.

The Junior Cert student had come into the game at the Doughiska pitches in Galway as a substitute, putting his side two goals in front before his sudden collapse.

celebrating

Family friend Pastor Larry Ovie told how Hassan had travelled with his father directly to the game after their Sunday church service.

"His father had taken him after church on Sunday to the match and he was a little late. He was brought into the game as a substitute when it was still 0-0. Hassan scored two goals," Pastor Ovie said.

"Everybody was celebrating and hugging him and then just as play started again he just collapsed.

"People were all around him. It went from great excitement to pandemonium. His father is just in shock."

Despite receiving immediate medical attention and being rushed to Galway University Hospital, Hassan died a short time later.

The teenager, who was originally from Nigeria, had moved to Galway with his parents and older brothers when he was a toddler.

His parents and siblings are being comforted by friends and neighbours in the Ballinfoyle, Tirellan area. The family have lived in Ireland for 13 years.

Pastor Ovie remembered Hassan as a "quiet, cheerful, jovial boy".

"The family are simply in shock. They cannot believe this has happened," he said.

"Hassan was a healthy young man, and for him to be gone so suddenly is hard to understand."

Pastor Ovie said he prayed with the family yesterday.

"It is very hard on the family. They are very close and are trying to comfort one another. I remember Hassan when he was only a baby. It is so very sad," he added.

Classmates and friends took to social media accounts to express their shock and grief at the popular schoolboy's sudden death.

A student at St Joseph's Patrician College, Hassan was remembered there for his active involvement in all aspects of school life.

He played soccer for the school and helped to coach younger players.

He was also part of the school relay team which placed fourth in the All-Ireland Final.

breakdance

Hassan also took part in school shows, and performed "a very lively breakdance", according to fellow students.

"Hassan was always smiling. He loved his sport and volunteered to help teachers to train and coach younger pupils in soccer," said principal Ciaran Doyle.

School friends were being offered counselling services and a Mass was held for Hassan yesterday morning.

His heartbroken family are now making arrangements for his funeral service.

hnews@herald.ie

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