TRIBUTES have poured in for the former Irish rugby player who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Rome.
Brendan Lynch, 26, was born in Britain but went on to represent Ireland at U19 level alongside Irish full-back Rob Kearney in South Africa in 2005.
The prop forward, who was a first-team player with Italian side Capitolina, was fatally injured when he was knocked from his scooter last week.
Reacting to the news on Twitter current Irish International Tom Court said:
“RIP Brendan Lynch, former Irish U19 International, Belfast Harlequin & top bloke with a great sense of humour.
Those sentiments were echoed by Ulster centre and former U19 teammate Darren Cave, while another former teammate tweeted:
“A great teammate, housemate, and Saturday night wingman, a huge loss to everyone who knew the “Big Man.”
A spokesman for the IRFU said the wider community had been left ‘stunned’ by the death of a player who represented both Rotherham and Gloucester.
Mr Lynch had recently moved to Rome where he worked for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.
He was considered to be one of the best tight head props in the Italian league. The club paid tribute to the 26-year-old on their website and suspended all activities for 24-hours as a mark of respect.
Police said that Mr Lynch's scooter was hit by another car as he travelled on the Rome ring road near Settebagni just to the north of the capital and the vehicle had then sped-off leaving him fatally injured by the side of the road.
Passing motorists alerted emergency services but he was declared dead at the scene.
Traffic police spokesman Roberto Ferilli said: “We are investigating the circumstances of the accident and are appealing for any witnesses to contact us.
“We are also using CCTV footage from the motorway to identify the vehicle. It appears the scooter he was travelling on was hit by another vehicle which failed to stop.”
Paolo Vaccari, the president of the Capitolina rugby club said:
“He had been here just a few months but he was already one of us. He was a great player, an exemplary professional."
The IRFU have passed on ‘their deepest condolences’ to Mr Lynch’s family.