Belfast Telegraph

Tributes after tragic death of ‘one in a million’ student Niall Laverty

Student: Niall Laverty
Student: Niall Laverty
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Tributes have been paid to a young Co Down GAA player who died suddenly in the Holyland area of south Belfast yesterday morning.

The body of Niall Laverty, who is understood to have been 19-years-old, was discovered inside a house on Palestine Street shortly before 2am.

It is understood the teenager from the village of Raholp, near Downpatrick, had been studying at university in Belfast.

Distraught friends and neighbours wept outside as emergency services attended the scene.

"Absolutely heartbroken hearing this news today," one pal wrote on social media. "A young gentleman gone too soon."

Many other grieving friends shared pictures and memories of "one of the best lads about" last night.

"Niall. You were one in a million - a true Gael," one post read.

South Down MP Chris Hazzard paid tribute to the young Saul GAC member who played his last match on Sunday.

"Niall was an inspiring young man, a promising Gaelic footballer who represented his club with great distinction," he said.

"But he was a loving son, brother and a loyal friend to those who knew him best."

The Sinn Fein representative offered his sincere condolences to the young man's heartbroken family, including his grief-stricken parents Peter and Margaret.

Paying tribute to a much-loved member, Ballygalget GAC promised that the sporting community would keep the family - including his three siblings - in their thoughts.

"Niall's second Club was Ballygalget and he will be greatly missed," it said in a statement.

Russell Gaelic Union Downpatrick also paid tribute to "a fine young man" who was "thoughtful, caring".

A Requiem Mass for Niall will take place on Sunday at 1pm in St Patrick's Church in Saul.

The family have asked for donations to be made to the suicide prevention charity PIPS.

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