Limerick sudden deaths created a positive legacy

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indexTWO West Limerick communities struck by tragedy in 2011 will hold a major fundraising event this weekend for sudden adult death charity, Cry Ireland.

Tragedy struck the Newcastle West and Monagea communities in 2011 with the sudden deaths of two young people, Niamh Herlihy and Darra O’Donovan, within six months of each other.

Their untimely deaths rocked their local communities and were met with an outpouring of grief and a determination to create a positive legacy from their lives .

Fifteen-year-old Darra O’Donovan from Gardenfield, Monagea died suddenly in December 2011. A talented hurler, he was a member of the Limerick under-15 hurling panel and was also a student at Desmond College.

Niamh Herlihy from Newcastle West passed away only a few weeks before her 21 birthday in 2011. A student at Cork Institute of Technology, she was found dead at the house she was staying in Bishopstown.

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Last year a joint fundraising event organised by the Herlihy and O’Donovan families saw 1,600 people walk, run and cycle for CRY Ireland, raising more than €60,000 for the charity.

More than 350 cyclists took part in the 40km and 80km circuits, while an estimated 1,300 people took part in a 10km run/walk event.

Darra’s mother Clare, one of the organisers of the event, described it as “wonderful but emotional day” and hopes it will be even bigger this year.

Monagea 2014 kicks off with the cycle at 10.30am this Saturday, May 3, while the 10km walk/run will take place at 12 noon.

CEO of Cry Ireland Orla Durkan commented: “Monagea 2013 was an absolutely fantastic event and a fitting tribute to the memory of two young people so sadly missed. It was overwhelming to see a community come together in such numbers and we would like to express our thanks to everyone who took part last year and to those who are taking part this year.”

CRY Ireland supports the families of people who have lost family members to sudden adult death. The charity also supports a screening centre at Tallaght Hospital where families and individuals can be evaluated by a heart screening service free of charge.