Tributes paid following the sudden death of Co Down teen Niall Laverty
Tributes have been paid to a "bubbly, funny and kind" Co Down teenager, following his sudden death.
The body of Niall Laverty (19), who was from Saul, just outside Downpatrick, was found in a house in the Holyland area of south Belfast shortly before 2am on Thursday.
The teenager, a former pupil of St Patrick's Grammar School in Downpatrick, had enrolled in Ulster University for a degree in Sports Studies.
In a statement, a St Patrick's Grammar School spokesperson said Niall Laverty had an "immediate impact" on the school community when he first attended in 2012.
"Staff and students got to know a bubbly, funny, and kind young man with a great love of sport, place, family and friends," they said.
Early this morning we heard the dreadful news with the passing of Niall Laverty from Saul. Niall was a huge part of Saul...Posted by Russell Gaelic Union Downpatrick on Thursday, September 19, 2019
"Niall progressed through his time in the Red High showing great sporting ability. He was captain of many teams throughout the school and was a true inspiration to his teammates. A team player in every sense, he was selfless in his displays and always helped wherever he could."
The spokesperson described the keen sportsman as an "outstanding young man, thoughtful, caring, lovable and was a close friend to many of our former and current pupils".
"We offer our most sincere condolences to Petsey, Margaret, Sean, Colleen and Grainne and the rest of the family. To all of his teammates at Saul GAC and Ballynagross FC we extend our deepest sympathies," they added.
It is with deep regret and sorrow that we mourn the passing of Niall Laverty. Niall made an immediate impact on the Red...Posted by St Patrick's Grammar Downpatrick on Thursday, September 19, 2019
"Niall will be deeply missed by us all and we will never forget him."
Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard said: "Really tragic news this morning that young Niall Laverty from Saul has sadly passed away.
It was with great shock and sadness that we learned of the passing of our senior player, Niall Laverty. As a footballer...Posted by Ballynagross FC on Thursday, September 19, 2019
"Niall was an inspiring young man, a promising Gaelic footballer and a loving son - thoughts of the whole east Down community with his family and friends at this tough time."
SDLP MLA Colin McGrath said that he had worked at a youth club Niall attended and knew him well.
"There is a deep sense of shock and despair in the community at this news," the South Down MLA said.
"Niall was a funny, bright, always full of energy and enjoyed life. He had many friends who will miss him.
"He was also a talented sportsperson, playing both GAA and soccer, he was a bright star for the future.
"It's just absolutely tragic and my thoughts and sympathy are with his family and friends at this time."
Mr Laverty's funeral will be held at St Patrick's Church, Raholp, this Sunday at 1pm, followed by a burial in the adjoining cemetery.
Belfast Telegraph Digital