Wicklow schoolgirl (11) dies after playing football
A schoolgirl girl died shortly after playing Gaelic football during PE at school.
Aoife Ward (11) died suddenly on her return from outdoor activities at school last Friday afternoon.
She was a fifth-class student at Scoil Chaoimhin Naofa, Glendalough, Co Wicklow.
It is understood that students, accompanied by their teachers, were walking back to the school from the nearby Laragh GAA pitch following football lessons when she started feeling unwell.
The schoolgirl, who did not have a history of health problems, passed away within minutes of feeling faint despite the best efforts of emergency services and teachers who came to her aid.
The reasons for her death are unknown.
Principal Anne Savage yesterday paid tribute to the "intelligent" and "beautiful" schoolgirl and said the focus of the school's staff was now on ensuring that pupils and classmates come to terms with Aoife's loss.
"We will help the children to the best of our ability," she said. "We have requested the support of the National Education Psychological Service and a psychologist will be in school."
She said Aoife was a "beautiful" child who had a passion for the outdoors and loved horses.
"She was an excellent and intelligent student who always did everything to the best of her ability. She was so popular with her classmates."
A statement from the school's board of management said the staff and students are "deeply shocked and saddened" by Aoife's death.
"This is a terrible tragedy for the family, the school and our community. We are deeply saddened," it said.
"Our sympathy and thoughts are with the extended Ward family and friends but especially her mum and dad, Tracey and Edward."
Aoife's funeral will take place tomorrow at St Kevin's Church in Laragh.