HUNDREDS OF mourners travelled to Kilnamona on Friday packing St Joseph’s Church and filling the streets for the funeral of fourteen year old Sarah Mescall.
St Joseph’s Church reached capacity fifty minutes prior to the 11am funeral mass on Friday morning. Outside, the crowds were as big with queues beyond the gates leading up to the church.
Sarah was laid to rest in a white coffin draped in her Inagh/Kilnamona jersey that she was so proud to wear, on numerous occasions. Indeed, camogie clubs from across the county have posted tributes online along with Clare Camogie and Clare GAA.
Her camogie teammates formed part of a guard on honour along with students from Coláiste Muire while members of the All-Ireland winning Clare minor hurling panel for whom Sarah’s brother Jack lined out at midfield also lined the streets.
Symbols by her coffin represented Sarah’s affection for her family, her local camogie team and her pony Gypsy. Gifts brought to the altar including her riding helmet, fake tan and make-up, camogie helmet and family pictures.
Fr Martin Shanahan noted, “This is a big blow. There’s a cloud hanging over our parish these past few days – it’s a very heavy cloud”. He believed the huge attendance served as “a message” to the Mescall family “that we are with you, every step of the way, to support and help you along this sad journey of life, which was so short for Sarah”.
He said of Sarah that she was “a beacon of light in life’s storms. She fought the good fight, her race was short but she finished it”.
‘Memories of Sarah’ were a number of reflections penned by her friends which told of her “tremendous” camaraderie, and her skills on the camogie field and at horse-riding. “She adored the social side of school and quickly amassed a tribe of friends, and many were fortunate enough to call Sarah their friend. She was loyal, she stood up for everyone, she was hilarious, and her constant smile was a source of joy for everyone that met her”.
How Sarah attracted the attention of boys was also recalled by her friends, “From an early age, Sarah was popular with the boys and had her first marriage proposal in first class, which was firmly rejected much to the disappointment of her love-struck class mate”. How she took “great pride in her appearance” was also noted plus her use of eye liner and fake tan. Her “determination and toughness” is why she was often giving the task of curbing the influence of the opposing team’s top scorer on the camogie field.
Oliver Mescall, Sarah’s uncle thanked members of the emergency services, and the doctors and nurses in University Hospital Limerick, Crumlin Children’s Hospital and Temple Street, Dublin, “who worked so hard to give Sarah a chance”.
How the community have rallied behind the family was acknowledged by Oliver. “We understand they are suffering along with us and it makes us very special to be part of such a community”.
Joy from playing camogie, her involvement in the group and the club was a major part of Sarah’s life, he said. He added that the most fun for Sarah “was going for a ride on her pony, Gypsy. She did it with one hand on the reins and another on the phone, I don’t know how she did it and she enjoyed it. They had great times together”.
He described his niece as “a happy girl who loved fun, and great times”. The Kilnamona man said, “Look, she was a cheeky little divil, in the nicest possible way, getting the fake tan done. It was as much for the camogie as for the Queens discos, I think. I’ll leave it at that and just say thanks to everyone, and that, Sarah will always be with us”.
Sarah’s remains were laid to rest in Kilnamona cemetery. She is survived by her parents Deirdre and Joe, and siblings Emily and Jack.
An Garda Síochána continue to investigate if Sarah died from partaking in a TikTok challenge. A file is under preparation for the Coroner, a spokesperson confirmed.
In a statement this week, TikTok said content such as aerosol challenges are prohibited on its platform and would be removed if found. A TikTok spokesperson said during the week that the social media challenge is “not a TikTok trend”.