Heartbreaking scenes at funeral of 'cheeky wee money' Eoin Hamill (13)
A schoolboy who died in a road accident in west Belfast was a "cheeky monkey" who would melt hearts, mourners heard on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people packed into Holy Trinity Church to pay their last respects to Eoin Hamill.
The 13-year-old was knocked down on the Springfield Road on Friday.
A priest said the Hamill family had asked mourners to pray for the people who attended the scene and also the driver of the vehicle involved.
Friends from Gleann Amateur Boxing Club and classmates at Colaiste Feirste Irish-medium school, where Eoin was a year nine pupil, formed a guard of honour as the coffin of the talented young boxer was led into the chapel.
Pain and sorrow were etched on the faces of his grieving parents Lisa and Marty and siblings Kadin, Daithi and Clodagh as they followed behind the coffin.
Reflecting the thoughts of Eoin's family, the Very Rev Brendan Mulhall told those gathered that Eoin's short life "had a profound impact on all".
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"No words of mine today, or anybody else's, can lessen the pain that Eoin's family are going through," he said. "It is with very deeply broken hearts that we come here today to say goodbye to a beautiful little boy."
Fr Mulhall said there was a deep feeling of "shock and numbness" among the community at the loss.
Speaking about his love for boxing, the boy was described by the priest as an exceptional talent for his age, winning trophies and medals and competing in competitions far and wide, including in Philadelphia in the United States.
Coaches and staff members of the Gleann club who were present in the chapel were moved to tears as they stood and listened to the words of tribute.
"Eoin really did live his short life to the full and packed so much into those 13 years. He was full of life and fun and he was a gift to everybody who knew him," the priest continued.
"He made friends very easily but he didn't make enemies, and people from far and wide have spoken about how much he inspired them.
"He was, as his family say affectionately and lovingly, 'a cheeky wee monkey'. But he was a cheeky wee monkey who had a smile that would melt anybody's heart."
Fr Mulhall also made mention of Eoin's deeply held sense of faith and spoke about how unusual it was for a child of his age not to go anywhere "without his rosary beads". However, he reflected the futility of such a tragedy occurring.
"Nobody knows why these awful tragedies happen and why bad things happen to such good people as Eoin's family," he continued.
"There is no way to explain it and there is no point even trying to explain it, because we will only torture ourselves with questions that have no answers.
"Very few people can understand or imagine the pain that Martin and Lisa and their family are going through. I can't imagine - I can't even begin to imagine it.
"The deepest truth of Eoin Hamill's life is that he was loved and cherished and all of us who knew him are better people for having known him.
"Eoin's mum and dad asked me a couple of times during these days: 'Is he really in heaven?' I am utterly and completely convinced that he is.
"His life and his death has made a huge influence on all of us and we will remember him always with love and affection and gratitude."
At the end of the Requiem Mass the priest thanked those who had rallied to support the family from around the world, with thousands of messages of support.
In addition, Eoin's family wished to express their gratitude "in a special way" to both the local Turf Lodge community, as well as the emergency services present at the scene on Friday.
Fr Mulhall said: "As you will know, this awful tragedy has affected everybody in our local area. The family have asked us to pray in a very special way for all who were involved in that accident.
"For the people who helped at the scene, the emergency services. To the driver of the vehicle and his family, for whom this is also a very, very difficult event in their lives. We hold all the people affected by this tragedy in our prayers and in our hearts."
As the family circle of the youngster filed out of the chapel, there was a scene of solidarity alongside the grieving relatives, as the local community turned out in force to show their support and remember Eoin.
He was laid to rest at Milltown Cemetery.
Belfast Telegraph Digital