Jim McKernon: Rugby club ‘devastated’ by sudden death of youth team player

Jim McKernon
Jim McKernon
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Poignant tributes have been paid following the sudden death of a Co Antrim teenager.

Jim McKernon, 17, from Ballyclare, who was a talented rugby player with his hometown club, passed away on Wednesday.

Ballyclare RFC representatives were among those who expressed sympathy to the family.

Alan Hamilton, Ballyclare RFC U18 head coach, said: “Jim was a key part of the rugby youth setup at Ballyclare Rugby Club. He played and represented the club at U14 to U18 level. He was part of a winning team at U16 and U18 levels in two out of three cup finals.

“In 2016/17 he won the club’s most improved player, awarded by the coaching staff.

“Jim was proud to wear the Ballyclare Rugby Club shirt and we remember his talent, courage and love for the game. He never stood back. He never gave ground.

“The youth team players and coaches are devastated by his passing. His team mates have many memories to look back on with Jim, they will be cherished forever. Sadly missed on and off the pitch, but never forgotten.”

Dozens of heartfelt tributes have also been paid to Jim on social media since his sudden passing.

Police have confirmed that his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Jim’s funeral service will take place at his Greenvale Terrace home on Saturday at 9.30am and afterwards to Ballyclare Cemetery.