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Family to bury crash victim as road campaigners demand action on A5

By Cate McCurry

A heartbroken mother will today bury her "lovely, youngest boy" after he and his best friend died in a tragic Co Tyrone car collision.

Maurice McCloughan from Fintona was killed alongside childhood pal Killian Doherty from Drumquin in the crash at around 8am on Saturday.

Family and friends have been left numbed by their deaths, and many have been sharing fond memories of the talented young sportsmen.

Fintona priest Canon Patrick Marron said the entire community has been shocked, numbed and saddened at the death of a "talented young man".

"Maurice was so friendly and had such an infectious smile and so much involvement in the community and was so talented.

"The family are distraught and devastated by his death. He's the youngest of a family of five and made friends very easily and kept them," he said.

"He filled his time, he was studying, he was at the vocation school and at the weekends he worked with a businessman.

"He was also a very accomplished footballer and I would say on the cusp of greatness.

"It's been a very emotional time for those going to the wake.

"Everybody was certainly distressed, the tears flowing readily.

"They have lost a good child - the first thing Margaret, his mother, said to me was 'my lovely, youngest boy'. She's very heartbroken," Canon Marron added.

The pair, who were both 19 and played for their local GAA teams, leave behind two devastated communities who are struggling to come to terms with their deaths.

The two friends were past pupils of St John's College, Dromore.

Maurice McCloughan's funeral will take place today at Lawrence's Church, Fintona, at 11am, while Mr Doherty's will be held tomorrow at St Patrick's Church, Drumquin.

Meanwhile, an online petition has been launched calling for work to be started on the A5 upgrade following the crash.

Hosted on Change.org, the post has already gained the support of almost 700 people, and aims to reach 1,000 signatures.

Omagh woman, Catherine Logue, who started the petition, said: "We cannot have any other families suffer due to the loss of a loved one on the A5 stretch of the public highway."

She intends to hand the completed petition to the First and Deputy First Ministers.

In a statement released earlier by the McCloughan family, they said: "We have laughed together, cried together, danced together and now, without our centrepiece, our baby, we have to mourn together.

"Maurice was the life and soul of every party and loved a good jump about the dance floor.

"He was always up for a laugh, had terrible taste in music, was never without that infectious smile and never had any problem 'pulling the chicks'.

"Although our lives are falling apart, we have become aware of how many lives have been touched by Maurice and just how many people this will affect."

Mr Doherty's family was too upset to speak, but his sister, Fatima, posted online: "Absolutely heartbroken.

"Life will never be the same again, will miss you so much, love you loads."

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