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Sarah Mescall funeral hears of ’heavy cloud’ over community after death linked to TikTock challenge

County Clare teenager Sarah Mescall was remembered as “a happy girl” and a “cheeky devil in the nicest possible way” at her funeral mass in Kilnamona on Friday.

At the packed Kilnamona Church, speaking on behalf of the Mescall family, her uncle Oliver Mescall also told mourners that “Sarah will always be with us”.

At the start of the mass, parish priest Fr Martin Shanahan told the congregation - and hundreds more watching via live stream in a nearby community centre - that “a very heavy cloud has been hanging over our parish the last few days” following the girl’s death on Monday after “a very short life”.

Gardaí are investigating whether the teenager may have died earlier this week after taking part in a viral TikTok challenge.

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Oliver Mescall paid tribute to the emergency services along with medical staff at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), Temple Street Children’s Hospital and Crumlin Children’s Hospital for “giving Sarah a chance”.

The local church was full 50 minutes before the 11am mass and outside the church, the girl’s friends embraced each other and wept as they listened to warm tributes for their 14-year-old friend.

Fr Shanahan told mourners that her friends had come together to give their memories of Sarah and he read out a number of the tributes. “Many were fortunate enough to call Sarah their friend,” he read. “She was loyal, she stood for everyone. She was hilarious and her constant smile was a source of joy for everyone who met her.”

One teenager described Sarah as “a tremendous friend” and recalled that “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”.

Another friend said Sarah “took great pride in her appearance” and eyeliner was a firm favourite along with fake tan and it was recalled how one day while in fourth class, Sarah’s skin changed to a tangerine orange colour after applying fake tan with a fluffy sock.

A further friend said “Sarah found happiness in her love of horses and she was an excellent show jumper”, while another said that “GAA was a huge part of Sarah’s life and a great source of pride to Sarah”.

Another said only last year, Sarah began her journey in secondary school when she became a first-year at the Coláiste Muire in Ennis, where she loved the social side of school “and quickly amassed a tribe of friends”.

Some of the gifts offered up to symbolise Sarah’s life included her riding helmet, her fake tan and make-up, her camogie helmet - she was a member of the Inagh Kilnamona camogie team - and family pictures “which speak for themselves”.

In his remarks at the end of the service, Oliver Mescall said Sarah “got huge joy from playing camogie and being part of the group” and he thanked the club for the support it had given the family since her death.

He said 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... They had great times together”.

Mr Mescall said Sarah loved going to the Queens teenage disco in Ennis with her friends and hanging around with the girls. “Great times. She was a cheeky devil in the nicest possible way - getting the tan done was as much for the camogie as the Queens disco I think.”

He added: “Our neighbours and friends - we can never say enough - the support, the help over the last few days has been unbelievable.”

Sarah is survived by parents Joe and Deirdre, brother Jack and sister Emily. After funeral mass, she was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.

A file is being prepared for the coroner in relation to her death. In a statement this week, TikTok said content such as aerosol challenges, which have been linked to several deaths internationally, are prohibited on its platform and would be removed if found.