Funerals held for rally drivers who died at Sligo event

Funerals held for rally drivers who died at Sligo event

THE FUNERALS have taken place of two men who died in a crash at the Sligo States Rally last Sunday.

Daire Maguire, 46, from Co. Fermanagh was laid to rest on Thursday while the funeral of 35-year-old Cavan man Gene McDonald was held on Friday.

The men died when their car crashed into a wall on the sixth stage of the event.

'Hole in our hearts'

Father-of-two Mr Maguire was laid to rest at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Newtownbutler.

"When tragedy strikes in our lives we are left with a sudden and unexpected hole in our hearts," Fr Saghar Sabir told mourners.

"When we try to put into words how it feels, our throats stop up till it actually hurts.

"Our eyes grow tired from the tears and the only thing we can do is cry for the loss we have suffered.

"To lose a much-loved husband and a greatly-loved father can bring up emotions no doctor can heal."

He added: "Truly, Daire's unstoppable joy and unending love and sacrifice are something not only to remember but to take hold of and celebrate."

Mr Maguire is survived by his wife Breda and children Megan and Christopher.

'A gentleman'

On Friday, Fr Martin Gilcreest told mourners at St Mary's Middle Chapel in Cootehill how the family of Mr McDonald were gathered in the same church in February for his daughter's christening.

"Just five months on, we are here in such tragic of circumstances as we gather as a family for Gene's funeral Mass," he said.

"Even now, some time on from Sunday, we still cannot get our head around the fact that Gene is no longer with us.

"So much sadness and emotion makes us feel that we are dealing with a tsunami of grief."

He added: "He was a gentleman, good to all around him and will be greatly missed."

Items brought to the altar to symbolise the mechanic's life included his tools, a model car, a Cavan GAA jersey and a games controller.

Mr McDonald is survived by his partner Justine and daughters Bonnie and Saoirse.

Motorsport Ireland has begun an investigation into the incident to establish how the accident occurred.