Talented footballer and soldier drowns during river swim
Tributes have poured in for a young footballer and soldier who drowned in Limerick city yesterday.
The deceased, named locally as Aaron Buckley, from Clara, Co Offaly, died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the Abbey River, close to the Absolute Hotel, shortly after 1pm.
Mr Buckley (22), a member of the Defence Forces, was swept under the surface in a fast-flowing current after he entered the water near Baal's Bridge and Harry's Mall.
A friend of Mr Buckley, who was with him at the time, alerted emergency services and a major search operation swung into action.
Mr Buckley's body was recovered shortly before 6pm near Arthur's Quay, by members of Limerick Marine Search and Rescue, assisted by the Limerick Land Search Team and gardai.
A post-mortem examination is due to take place at University Hospital Limerick and a file will be prepared for the Limerick City Coroner's Office.
The much-loved Offaly native is survived by his "loving parents Alvin and Edel, brothers Gavin and Noah, sister Jemma, and his grandparents Pat and Ann Egan and Michael and Ann Buckley", according to an obituary notice published online.
In a message posted on its Facebook page, Mr Buckley's GAA Club Erin Rovers passed on its "sincere condolences" to his family and friends.
"Aaron was a very talented young footballer and was part of the team which won the intermediate title in 2017. Not alone was he a very talented footballer, he was also a very down-to-earth man who was always in good form and had a smile on his face," wrote a spokesperson for the club.
"He will be a huge loss around the club not just for the football but for the man he was. He will be sadly missed by all his teammates, committee members, supporters, and from all who knew him. May he rest in peace."
Others responding to the club's statement passed on their sympathy to Mr Buckley's loved ones.
One described the news of his death as "devastating", and others posted a single broken-heart emoji.
"RIP Aaron, such a tragedy. Thoughts are with your family at this awful time. Such a lovely man you were," wrote one friend.
"Our whole community is in shock and heartbroken," they added.
"So sad RIP Aaron condolences to all your family and friends at home and in the Defence Forces limerick," wrote another.
Gardai are treating Mr Buckley's death as a tragic accident.