Belfast Telegraph

Omagh crash: Families of A5 victims Killian Doherty and Maurice McCloughan say their 'lives are falling apart'

By Cate McCurry

The families of two Co Tyrone teenagers killed in a horror crash have spoken of their heartbreak and devastation.

Killian Doherty from Drumquin and Maurice McCloughan from Fintona, both aged 19, were killed following a crash on the main A5 road between Omagh and Ballygawley on Saturday at around 8am. The two communities have been plunged into sadness as family and friends struggle to come to terms with their tragic deaths.

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Village decorations make way for makeshift memorials to road victims Killian Doherty Maurice McCloughan 

Mr McCloughan's family paid tribute to the talented Gaelic footballer, describing him as their "golden boy" who was the "life and soul" of every party.

A family statement 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.

"We as a family will get through this together and we open up our hearts to all of those who were friends, teammates and classmates. It gives us some comfort that Maurice has Killian up there with him."

The statement also paid tribute to Mr Doherty, saying he was a "fantastic young man" who leaves behind "another shattered family".

So far this year, 66 people have died on Northern Ireland's roads, exactly the same number as the same period last year.

Mr McCloughan, who played for Fintona GAA team from a young age, was remembered by his heartbroken teammates in a vigil, hours after his death. The senior football team's captain, John Fitzpatrick, described him as a "gentleman" who was a friend to everyone.

"He was always smiling, always laughing and a lovely lad. You could never say a bad word about him," he added.

"He is one of the best players I played with and he was undoubtedly a future Fintona captain. Everyone is shocked and devastated. It's very hard to take in. His dad, Kevin is the manager, and he was always so proud of Maurice going on the field wearing the Fintona jersey. Everyone is coming together to help out in any way they can."

A few miles away, in Drumquin, another rural village is struggling to deal with a young man's tragic death.

Killian Doherty's sister, Fatima, paid tribute to the teenager.

She posted online: "Absolutely heartbroken. Life will never be the same again, will miss you so much, love you loads."

Drumquin parish priest, Fr Kevin Mullan, was among many of the mourners who laid a wreath yesterday afternoon, close to the spot where the pair died. He spoke of the vigil held at Drumquin's GAA club on Saturday night, where Mr Doherty's mother, Carmel, joined hundreds of others to remember the popular young man.

"They all wept with her," he said.

"It's heartbreaking and the pain is tearing them apart. He was loveable and I saw him growing up. He was so likeable."

His grieving mother posted a photograph yesterday of herself and her only son wearing Christmas jumpers in happier times.

Teammates and members from Drumquin Wolfe Tones were among the many to pay tribute to the talented sportsman. "We want to offer our sincerest condolences to Killian's family; to his mum Carmel, to his sisters Fatima and Charlene, his dad Finbarr and to Neil.

"Killian's closest friends, his band of brothers, the club and the wider community in Drumquin, have been left reeling from the news of his sudden passing.

"Killian was a light who touched the lives of all who knew him and he brought life and light to our club when he started playing over 10 years ago as a member of our under-8 team. We watched him grow and develop into a very talented footballer but also into an exceptional young man, who epitomised all that is good. He was kind, considerate, a gentleman.

"After the darkness of yesterday there are many families in our parish who have a picture of Killian standing in our kitchens with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye. He shared that smile freely and loved nothing better than having a formal to go to show it off."

Belfast Telegraph


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