Father Austin McGirr, parish priest at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Portstewart, paid tribute to Reece Meenan in a touching homily.
Reece, a year 10 pupil at Loreto College in Coleraine, died from injuries he sustained after being hit by a car on Newbridge Road at 6.30pm on Saturday.
Pupils from Loreto College formed a guard of honour as Reece’s remains were carried inside Star of the Sea Church in Portstewart. He was laid to rest in Agherton Cemetery following the funeral Mass.
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Father McGirr said: “Our hearts go out to you Veronica, Reece’s mother, his father, Paul and John his step-father, his sisters Caitlin, Maria, Laura and brother Graham.
“This tragic and sudden death has left the family shocked and stunned. There was no preparation for this, no period of getting used to the idea of an early departure. All we can do as a community is hold you in love and in prayer. We do that now and will continue to do that.
“Reece made a huge impression in his short life. Seasoned golfers in Castlerock were reminded of a young Rory McIlroy when they saw him swing while knowledgeable football watchers saw a budding Steven Gerrard as wee Reece weaved his way through the opposition to win the Doherty Cup for St Colum’s Primary, Portstewart.
“He was on the successful team all the way from P4 right up to P7 and went on to help Loreto win a regional Soccer cup for Year 8 pupils. He impressed many with his exploits on the field of Eoghan Roe GAA.
“So many hopes and dreams were cruelly ended by a Saturday night road accident. So much talent and skill in such a young person.
“The memory of his many school friends and teachers in St Colum’s PS, Loreto College, St Joseph’s College and Dominican College, has been marred. Sports club members and coaches will feel his absence. He will never be forgotten.
Loreto College school principal Michael James had earlier paid tribute to his pupil.
“As a school community we were all shocked and saddened to hear about the tragic death of year 10 pupil, Reece Meenan, on Saturday,” he said. “Reece was beginning to develop as a student and was carefully considering his options for the future, with his passion for sport at the forefront of his career aspirations. He will be desperately missed.”