The Coleraine schoolboy killed in a suspected hit an run incident at the weekend was considering a career in sport.
Talented young footballer Reece Meenan, who was a pupil at Loreto College in the town, died after being struck by a car at Newbridge Road on Saturday evening.
Michael James, principal of Loreto College, referred to 13-year-old Reece’s passion for team games in his tribute.
Mr James said: “As a school community we were all shocked and saddened to hear about the tragic death of Y10 pupil, Reece Meenan, on Saturday.
“Reece was an extremely likeable and popular pupil who participated fully in school life, being a member of both the soccer and Gaelic football teams. Two years ago, he was a vital member of the Y8 soccer team, which won the Y8 league and this year was a key member of the Y10 Gaelic squad, which is due to play in the semi-final of the cup.
“Reece was beginning to develop as a student and was carefully considering his options for the future, with his passion for sport at the forefront of his career aspirations. He was a lively boy with a good sense of humour and he will be desperately missed by his teachers and fellow students alike. May he rest in peace.”
Tributes have poured in following the tragedy with flowers left close to the scene, where young friends gathered on Sunday.
Also present to pay his respects was Causeway Coast and Glens Councillor Darryl Wilson.
Mr Wilson said: “Heartbreaking to see flowers being left at the scene of the tragedy . His young friends have congregated at the place where the incident happened, they are understandably deeply upset and shocked. A young life stolen away far too soon . Thoughts and prayers go out to them all.”
The GAA club in the Triangle area of Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush for whom Reece played spoke of his commitment to the game.
Eoghan Rua GAC stated: “On the untimely and tragic passing of our young player, Reece Meenan, we extend our deepest sympathy to the Meenan family. Reece was a lively young Eoghan Rua footballer, full of energy, representing our U14s for each of the last two seasons.”
Reece’s funeral is due to take place on Tuesday with Requiem Mass in Star of the Sea Church, Portstewart, at 11.00am followed by interment in Agherton Cemetery.
Meanwhile, a 23-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death and a number of other offences has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.