Tributes paid to three friends killed in collision
The sister of one of the three young men killed in a horrific crash in Co Tyrone has said he will forever be her “shining star in the sky”.
Petey McNamee was one of three people to die in the crash after the car he was travelling in collided with a lorry on the A5 in Co Tyrone. His sister Aimee posted the emotional notice to her brother as tributes were paid to the three friends.
Nathan Corrigan and Peter Finnegan also died in the crash. A fourth man was rushed to hospital and remains in a serious condition.
The stretch of road where the three young men died is considered one of the most treacherous in Northern Ireland.
The friends were on their way home from a night out, travelling along the A5 Omagh Road at Garvaghey, near Ballygawley, at around 1.50am on Monday when the collision occurred.
All three men are from well-known families in the Co Tyrone area.
Mr Corrigan’s father Damian is on the executive committee of Beragh Red Knights GAA.
Both Nathan Corrigan and Petey McNamee were youth players with the club.
Ger Treacy, vice chair of the club, said: “The two lads played underage football and handball for the club for a number of years.
“Nathan’s father Damian has been involved for over 20 years — he puts his heart and soul into the club, no job is too big or small for Damian. His brother Callum plays for the senior team and so it has had a significant impact.
“They are just great community people and so this is a huge blow to the family first, but also to the entire community.
“When you are in a small rural area, the local GAA club is central. We all get involved to some extent, we get very close and rely on each other for help and support and that’s all we can do at the minute — support the families”.
Nathan’s mother Kate Corrigan is a teacher at Roscavey Primary School where her son was a past pupil. “On this the Feast of the Holy Innocents, we keep the families and friends of everyone involved in this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time”, the school said.
Mr Corrigan and Mr Finnegan were past pupils at St Ciaran’s College in Ballygawley.
A tribute from the school said: “St Ciaran’s wishes to extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of two of our past pupils, Nathan Corrigan and Peter Finnegan, who tragically passed away yesterday morning and also to the family of their friend Petey McNamee who sadly lost his life too. We will keep the young man currently in hospital in our thoughts and prayers and wish him a full recovery.”
Mr Corrigan had poignantly posted on social media just three days before he died: “This year is almost gone. Not all our friends and family made it. Never take for granted the people you love. Be thankful for today, because in one moment your entire life could change.”
Mr Finnegan was from the Clogher area while Mr McNamee was from the Sixmilecross area.
Through Clogher Eire Ogs GAA club, the family of Mr Finnegan thanked the local community for their prayers and thoughts following the “untimely and tragic death of their beloved son and brother”.
Police said their car collided with a lorry in the Omagh Road area of Garvaghey at around 1.50am. It is part of the notorious A5 road, which has claimed more than 40 lives in the last 15 years.
The parish priest in Beragh, Monsignor Colum Curry, was one of the first people on the scene, and said it was the worst scene imaginable.
“I was called yesterday morning (Monday) to the scene of the accident. It was horrendous, you can imagine the devastation. The car was on the roof and there was debris everywhere,” he said.
“It was horrific, I have just spoken very briefly to the families, at the minute we are still in a waiting game for when they’ll get them home. The funeral arrangements can’t be made yet, which is a dreadful place to be for the families as they can’t even see their loved ones.
“That stretch of the A5 is very busy — there is a huge amount of traffic on the road in normal times and sadly it has claimed quite a number of accident victims over the years.
“On this occasion it has claimed three young men in the prime of their life, with another in hospital.”