Published Wednesday, 05 February 2014
The priest appealed for others to be aware of the risks of 'neknominations'. (© Getty)
Jonny Byrne was laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon after his tragic death over the weekend.
His family have said he was taking part in the neknominations craze when he downed an alcoholic drink and then jumped in the River Barrow.
His brother Patrick entered the water to try to save him, but had to be rescued himself.
During Jonny Byrne's funeral at St Lazerian's Church in Leighlinbridge, Father Thomas Lalor pleaded with people to be brave and make a worthwhile contribution by saying no to the game.
The priest told mourners who joined the young man's family to pay their last respects that life is full of risks, but that we all have to be careful as they can have disastrous consequences.
The local community was said to have been left feeling helpless as nothing they do can lessen the family's pain over their loss.
Neknominations has resulted in a number of reckless videos being posted on social media sites.
Participants are supposed to 'neck' a drink and then 'nominate' others to also take part. But, as those involved try to out-do each other, the drinks and stunts have become increasingly dangerous.
Footage has emerged of people drinking fluids like urine and WD40, while one young woman came in for criticism after swallowing a live goldfish.
The craze is understood to have originated in Australia, but has spread around the globe.
Following deaths linked to the so-called game in the Republic, a Facebook page for Northern Ireland participants stopped promoting videos of the drinking challenges.
The Public Health Agency has also issued warnings over the dangers involved, adding: "Real friends don't neknominate. You have the right to say: 'No'.
"Join the thousands of others who are standing up against this 'game'."
© UTV News