Tragic death of young Irish star
March 27, 2004

Ireland's first Triple Crown victory in 19 years was overshadowed by the tragic death of a rising international schoolboy in a separate game.

John McCall, 18, from County Armagh, died after breaking his neck playing in an Ireland under-19 World Cup match against New Zealand in South Africa.

He had captained Royal School Armagh in this month's Ulster Schools' Cup Final.

Although there were unconfirmed reports that the young player broke his neck going into a ruck a post mortem confirmed that he had died from heart failure.

News of his death emerged as people across Ireland celebrated today's 37-16 victory over Scotland in the Six Nations tournament at Landsdowne Road, Dublin.

The teenager's uncle Brian was a member of the Ireland squad that last won the Triple Crown back in 1985.

One of the brightest prospects in School rugby, John McCall captained his school to victory against Campbell College on St Patrick's Day - the same day he learned he had been picked for the Ireland under-19 team.

He also led the Ulster Schools' side in this season's inter-provincial Championship. His death comes just weeks after GAA star Cormac McAnallen died of a rare heart viral infection at his home in County Tyrone.

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