Tributes have been paid to a promising young boxer who drowned after a horse riding accident.
Eric Stanton, 16, from the Mayfield area of Cork, died after being pulled from a river in Glanmire on the outskirts of the city yesterday evening.
The tragedy occurred when the teenager was with two friends by the Glashaboy river when he came off the horse into the swollen, freezing river.
Emergency and rescue services searched for him for up to 40 minutes in the dark after the accident and he was rushed to Cork University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Eric was a member of the Mayfield Boxing Club for the last five years and coaches praised his talent, dedication to the sport and his courage in the ring.
Brian Cronin, coach at the club, said: “He had a fierce heart in the ring. He was very brave, always moving forward.
“It’s desparate. The young lads in the club are in an awful way over it, he will be sadly missed.”
Eric had been weighed on Friday night for his latest bout in the 52 kilo weight division in the upcoming Cork county boxing championships.
“We had been hoping that he would progress, in the direction of national championships - he showed a lot of promise,” Mr Cronin said.
The coach also paid tribute to the teenager’s parents Jimmy and Catherine who attended all his fights and supported him with all the sports gear for training and competing.
“They were very proud of him. Every time I’ve met his father they’d say how proud they were of him,” Mr Cronin said.
Coaches Danny Fitzpatrick, Odibo Aigbolia, Edward Caulfied and Mr Cronin extended their sympathies to the Stanton family.
“Eric will be sadly missed in Mayfield Boxing Club,” they said.
Eric had boxed for Cork in a special select competition against an all-Ireland champion last month and was narrowly defeated but showed a lot of determination and promise despite the loss, the coaches said.
Members of the boxing club will talk to the family about a possible tribute to the young boxer at the funeral. Arrangements have yet to be finalised.
An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the death of the teenager and the case will be sent to the coroner’s office in Cork.
The river was in flood at the time and it is believed the boy might have been thrown from the horse while he was riding along the bank near John O’Callaghan Park or that the animal slipped by the water’s edge or while in the river.
It is understood the residents’ association in Mayfield where the Stanton family live is hoping to hold a fundraiser to help the family following their loss.
Ted Tynan, a local councillor with the Workers’ Party who knew the family, said the Mayfield area had been left shocked by the accident and that a young life was lost in such tragic circumstances.
“Eric was a very promising young lad. It’s a terrible tragedy. He was a fine, talented young lad,” Mr Tynan said.
“From what the coaches have said about him he was really beginning to settle into it. He was training well, watching his diet and his weight - it’s just such a tragic loss.”
Gardai in Mayfield are investigating the circumstances around the death.