Belfast Telegraph

Family's heartache at road death of teen who 'lived for Gaelic football and hurling'

By Joanne Sweeney and Claire Williamson

The family of a schoolboy killed just yards from his front door have told of their devastation.

Mark Colgan (14) was struck by a van opposite his family home shortly before 8am yesterday as he waited to catch the bus to school.

The tragic incident happened on the Scarva Road in Banbridge, Co Down.

He was described by his family as a "quiet, quite serious, careful young lad" who lived for Gaelic football and hurling.

Last night his uncle Liam Stewart said: "We just don't know how or what happened, we are just trying to make sense of it. We are all just distraught about it, and his mother can't even bring herself to talk about it."

Speaking outside the Colgan family home in Ballyvarley, Mr Stewart added: "Mark was quite a quiet, serious wee boy who did very well at school and loved his sport.

"He was always very careful about things, so how this happened, we just don't know.

"He was very good at school and he loved cartoons and drawing them, he was quite artistic.

"Just last weekend we were all together watching Ireland win the Six Nations, so he liked rugby as well, but preferred the football."

His parents Mervyn and Felicity and older brother and sister Paul and Aideen are well-known in the Banbridge and Loughbrickland area due to the family's involvement and support of Aghaderg Gaelic Football Club and Ballyvarley Hurling Club.

Mark's routine would involve getting the bus to Scarva before travelling on to St Colman's School in Newry.

The bus stop is situated on a two-lane rural road close to the GAA pitches where he was a keen player for Aghaderg.

The 30-year-old male driver of the van involved was arrested, but was later released unconditionally.

The teenager is a former pupil of St Francis' Primary School where his mum works as a classroom assistant.

Principal Donal McNally said: "The whole community is numbed by the tragic death of a much-loved son, brother and friend.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this moment.

The teenager was a member of the Aghaderg GFC and had a bright future in the game.

Yesterday the club posted on its website: "All club activities suspended due to the tragic accident this morning and loss of one of our juvenile players.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this time."

Meanwhile, scores of tributes to the schoolboy were posted on Facebook.

One said: "Mark was one of the nicest lads you could meet. May he rest in peace. God bless him."

Another wrote: "Such a loss for everyone, he will be really missed."

One contributor called Mark "a lad with a big future".

The local community has been left shocked and saddened by the news.

Upper Bann DUP MP David Simpson said: "A young man has lost his life through tragic circumstances in this road accident and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this moment in time.

"The police have asked for more information and we trust some members of the public will have witnessed something and will be able to furnish the PSNI with that," he added.

Police in Banbridge have appealed to anyone who witnessed the collision or anyone who was travelling on the Scarva Road around the time of the collision to contact them on 0845 600 8000.

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