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Neknomination: End drinking craze, priest urges mourners

Young people owe it to Jonny Byrne, the young man who died after a neknomination dare, to help stop the craze.

Addressing mourners at Jonny's funeral, Fr Tom Lalor, the chief celebrant at the Mass at St Lazarian's Church in Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, told his friends that they had the power to call a halt to the online drinking game which has already been linked to two deaths in the Republic. "Just as this craze is supposed to have been started by one person, it can be stopped by one person. Let you be that person," he said.

"If you are faced with this challenge, be strong, be great and make a worthwhile contribution. You owe it to Jonathan Byrne."

Hundreds of mourners gathered to say a final farewell to the 19-year-old who drowned in the River Barrow last Saturday after consuming a quantity of alcohol. He was taking part in a neknomination dare.

Jonny's devastated parents, Kathleen and Joe, and older brother Patrick (26), accompanied the coffin from the family home to the church to the sound of You'll Never Walk Alone, the anthem of the young man's beloved Liverpool Football Club.

Johnny's father told of the terrible phone call that came in on Saturday night, saying: "That call changed our lives forever."

He added: "He never treated anyone badly.

"Everyone was equal to him, he never cursed or swore," he said, adding that if he was sent off during a match, he never complained.

Belfast Telegraph