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Community left shocked as talented GAA star Kevin King dies after collapsing in match

By Donna Deeney

Published 05/11/2016

Kevin King, who died suddenly
Kevin King, who died suddenly
Kevin King playing for St Mary’s

A GAA club has been plunged into grief after the sudden death of one of its rising stars.

Kevin King (22), who played for St Mary's Slaughtmanus, in Co Londonderry, was with a group of friends at an indoor football arena in Campsie when tragedy struck.

It is understood they were less than five minutes into the game, with Kevin in goals, when he fell to the ground without warning.

Staff frantically tried to revive him at the scene before an ambulance arrived, but he could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

The cause of death will not be known until after a post-mortem examination is carried out.

However, it is understood that the young player previously collapsed during a Gaelic match for his club in May and was rushed to hospital.

Afterwards, he underwent a series of medical examinations and had not played a game since the incident.

The club's chairman, Eddie Derry, whose two sons were with Mr King when he collapsed, said the entire community was in shock over the death.

"Our thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with Kevin's parents, John and Margaret, and his brother, Martin, as well as the wider family," he said.

"Kevin was a gifted player and really was a rising star on the field with plenty of talent.

"But he was also an amazing young man off the pitch as well and a good friend to my own sons.

"Two of them were with Kevin when he took ill, and they have been left in a bad way.

"They are deeply shocked at witnessing the sudden death of their pal, as you can imagine."

A huge number of tributes to the tragic player were posted on social media.

Anto Hargan described Mr King as a "true gent" and added: "(He was) one of the most decent and unassuming, but yet talented and driven individuals that I've had the pleasure to play alongside."

This is the second time in recent years St Mary's Slaughtmanus has had to rally around young players after the sudden death of one of its members.

In 2014, Ciaran Feeney, who played on the under-14 side alongside Mr King, died after he was struck by a car as he walked home after a night out.

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