Talented young sportsman drowns after ‘drinking game’

Mary Cody

Reporter:

Mary Cody

The family of a young man who drowned after taking part in an online drinking game ‘Neknomination’ have spoken out and urged people to stop before more lives are lost.

The family of a young man who drowned after taking part in an online drinking game ‘Neknomination’ have spoken out and urged people to stop before more lives are lost.

19-year Jonny Byrne from Leighlinsbridge played soccer with Bridge United in Goresbridge and was a talented young sportsman who hurled for his county.

He drowned after he went into the River Barrow near Milford Bridge on Saturday evening while taking part in a drinking trend – known as “Neknomination” .

His brother Pat, who was there at the time but was not drinking dived into the river to try to save him, but his attempts were unsuccessful.

The sub aqua unit of the Kilkenny Civil Defence team took part in the rescue operation.

Following his death, Jonny’s brother posted a message on the social media site urging people to stop the challenge.

“This neck nomination has to stop right now. My young 19-year-old brother died tonight in the middle of his nomination… He thought he had to try and beat the competition and after he necked his pint he jumped into the river…”

Jonny’s father, Joe, appealed to young people to think about what they are doing.

“It has cost my son his life and our lives will never be the same again. I hope this message is heeded. For us life is virtually over,” he said.

His brother, Pat has vowed to campaign against the game, adding, “I am going to keep campaigning to have this neknomination taken off Facebook”.

The online trend involves the “neknominator” who, after posting a video of themselves online downing a pint or other form of alcohol , then “neknominates” one or two of his friends to follow suit. The rules dictate that they now have 24 hours to upload their video and nominate their choices, carrying on the trend.

This is the second death linked to the ‘game’ in recent days. 22-year-old Ross Cummins from Dublin, was found dead at his home by friends on Saturday morning.

Jonny is being waked at his home at Tomard in Leighlinsbridge. The home will be open from 11am tomorrow for friends and family and his funeral will take place at 2pm on Wednesday in Leighlinbridge.