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Dublin: 19 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020
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The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is paying to bring back the body of the champion Irish rower who died in Poland

Ailish Sheehan won bronze in the Women’s Senior Coxed Fours final at the FISU World University Championships in Poznan, Poland last Sunday week.

THE KEVIN BELL Repatriation Trust has confirmed it has stepped in to assist the family of champion Irish rower Ailish Sheehan – who died in Poland following a fall last Friday – in returning her body home to Co Limerick.

A go-fund-me page, which has raised more than its initial target of US$10,000 (€8,900) has also been set up set up in memory of the young rower.

Last Sunday week, Sheehan athlete won bronze in the Women’s Senior Coxed Fours final at the FISU World University Championships in Poznan, Poland.

Later that evening, while out celebrating her victory, she fell and hit her head suffering fatal injuries.

Ailish, (23), passed away last Friday surrounded by her parents John and Catherine, and her siblings Niamh and Aine, after spending six days on a life-support machine in a Polish hospital.

Her family are in the process of arranging to have her body flown home for burial.

A go-fund-me account was opened in the United States, by Ailish’s former college roommate at Notre Dame, Emily Mediate.

“We set up the fund just to try to honour Ailish in some way. It was difficult for her Notre Dame ‘family’ to feel so far away from her in Poland during the last few days, so this was our way of commemorating her,” she said today.

In a posting on the Caring Bridge website, Mediate added: “We will pass on information about a celebration of (Ailish’s) life as it comes in.

In lieu of flowers, we have set up a GoFundMe page to defray the cost of the family’s extended stay in Poland and to contribute to any final celebrations for Ailish in Ireland and elsewhere.

“Though her light is extinguished, all those who knew and loved (Ailish) know that we carry it within us now and forever.”

Sheehan 2 Source: Twitter

Half-mast

The Irish tricolour flew at half mast at the offices of Limerick city and county council as a mark of respect for the Limerick athlete.

Colin Bell, of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, said the organisation has offered financial assistance to the Sheehan family to help them bring Ailish’s remains home.

“We’ll make the arrangements for the repatriation. We’ll pay for the repatriation,” Bell said.

An autopsy was to be performed today in Poland.

Bell added: “There will be a couple of days getting paperwork sorted, so I would expect arrangements would not be made until towards the end of the week, possibly.”

Ailish’s heartbroken parents and siblings returned to Ireland last Saturday night.

A family friend said the Sheehans were “very appreciative” of everyone who had offered their support.

Everybody is chipping in and carrying them along. It’s a preparation time for them, after what they have been through.

Blessings were offered up at a local prayer meeting in Bruff, where the Sheehan’s previously resided; a minute silence was observed at local GAA matches; and a training day at Michael’s Rowing Club, Limerick, where Ailish was a former member, was cancelled in her honour.

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David Raleigh

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