Belfast Telegraph

Omagh crash: Village decorations make way for makeshift memorials to A5 road victims Killian Doherty Maurice McCloughan

By Cate McCurry

The deaths of two school friends, whose lives were tragically cut short only weeks before Christmas, have left a trail of heartbreak and disbelief.

Instead of planning for the season's festivities, the families of Maurice McCloughan and Killian Doherty, both 19, are instead making funeral arrangements. The pair, who were both well known in GAA circles, were travelling along the Doogary Road, near Omagh when their vehicle was in a collision with another car on Saturday morning.

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Families of crash victims Killian Doherty Maurice McCloughan says their 'falling apart' 

Tributes flooded social media as the two rural communities of Fintona and Drumquin awoke to the devastating news that the local teenagers had been killed.

Maurice, a former student of St John's College in Dromore, played for Fintona GAA from a young age. His teammates came together at the clubhouse hours after his death to hold a vigil for the popular sportsman.

Candles, floral tributes and photos of Maurice replaced Christmas decorations in a room where a makeshift memorial had been set up.

Hundreds left messages to the talented footballer in a book of condolence which sat next to candles laid out in the shape of an 'M'.

Maurice, who had celebrated his team's success after winning the Tyrone junior championship last weekend, was also looking forward to his only sister Ellen's wedding after her recent engagement.

Meanwhile, a few miles away, members of Drumquin GAA club gathered at the spot where their friend, Killian, had died just 24 hours earlier, to lay a wreath in his memory.

Dressed in their red and white club colours, friends left floral tributes, the team flag and a jersey at the makeshift memorial.

Parish priest Fr Kevin Mullan travelled with the grieving teammates and led prayers for the young men. The sense of shock and sadness at the loss of the bright teenagers was palpable as many fought back tears.

Maurice's sister, Ellen, took to social media to pay tribute to her younger sibling: "We are a family that genuinely enjoy each other's company, we as teenagers and now as adults have had most of our best memories just sitting in mum and dad's house, all of us together.

"We have laughed together, cried together, sang together, danced together and now, without our centrepiece, our baby, we have to mourn together. The words do not exist to explain the pain that I am feeling and that I know we all are feeling."

The friends will be laid to rest this week.

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