The father of former GAA star Cormac McAnallen today called for all young sport stars to be screened for hidden health problems after the tragic death of 10-year-old Patrick Breen.
A post-mortem examination was due to take place today on Patrick after the football-mad youngster dropped dead on Tuesday in front of his team-mates while taking part in a GAA training session in Tyrone.
Patrick - nicknamed Packie - had told his teacher in Drumquin that his ambition was to play football for his county. Orla Duffy, principal of Envagh Primary School, who taught him for three years, described him as " the star" of the school GAA team.
Villagers, friends and relatives were today comforting his parents, Jackie and Frankie, brothers, Stephen (19), Gary (16), Connor (13) and four-year-old Sean, and sister Danielle, who is 18.
They were preparing for his funeral which is likely to take place on Saturday.
The child's shocking death is the latest in a series of tragedies to hit the GAA in Co Tyrone over the last decade.
In 1997 gaels across Ireland were stunned when 18-year-old Paul McGirr died after a clash during an Ulster minor championship game.
Tragedy struck a second time when Tyrone captain and All Ireland medal winner Cormac McAnallen died suddenly at home in 2004.
After his death the footballer's family set up The Cormac Trust in a bid to combat sudden cardiac death by distributing potentially life-saving defibrillators to GAA clubs throughout Ulster.
And, although one of the Cormac Trust defibrillators was available to a doctor who treated Patrick after he collapsed, the child's life could not be saved.
Cormac's father, Brendan, today said young people should be screened for health conditions before they are allowed to play sports.
He added: "Defibrillators only work with certain conditions and the person has to be treated quickly. For me this is a shock in one way and in another way it is not. Young people are dying like this all over the country and we don't hear about them. It happens every day and it wasn't talked about until Cormac's death.
"There should be screening for all young athletes if they are playing a sport of any intensity. While defribrillators can save lives, prevention is better than the cure. What we want to do is make people aware and encourage screening for children and young people.
We live with the results of this every day. If we had a defribillator or if Cormac had been screened he would probably be living today."
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte described Patrick's death as an "absolute tragedy"
He said: "All we can do is pass on our condolences to his family and keep them in our prayers. It is a terrible tragedy for the family first and foremost but the whole community feels it as well. When young people die playing the sport they love it is more poignant. We in the Tyrone team can identify with that."
Patrick's death is the third sudden tragedy to hit his family in recent years. In 1999 his young cousin Mark died at the same age after suffering a brain haemorrhage in bed. Another cousin died in a road accident aged just 16.