Belfast Telegraph

Triple tragedy strikes Co Down GAA club after road deaths and body find

Shane McAnallen, Ruth Maguire and Martin Patterson
Shane McAnallen, Ruth Maguire and Martin Patterson
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

A Co Down GAA club was in mourning after a devastating triple tragedy struck over the St Patrick's bank holiday weekend.

Two friends, named locally as Shane McAnallen and Martin Patterson, both in their 20s were killed in a car crash in Co Louth near Carlingford in the early hours of Monday morning.

In a separate incident a body was recovered in the search for missing woman Ruth Maguire. The 30-year-old mother of three had been in Carlingford on a hen party.

Ruth was an underage coach at Bryansford GAC where both Shane and Martin had been former players.

On Monday evening the club spoke of its devastation.

"To the Maguire, Patterson and McAnallen families, we convey our deepest and heartfelt sympathies," the club said in a Facebook post.

"We are in a state of shock."

The club has contacted counselling services to provide support to those grieving the losses.

"As a club, it is important that we keep together and support each other through this difficult time," it added.

Newcastle Football Club also paid its respects to all three and their families.

"A very sad day for the town of Newcastle and for all family and friends who have been effected with these sudden and tragic deaths," the Division 1A amateur side said.

Social media was swamped with

Father Denis McKinley of St Malachy’s Church in Castlewellan described it an "exceptionally sad" time for the area.

"It is not right for parents to be burying their children," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It should be a day of celebration for St Patrick but with these three deaths and that of the three young teens in Tyrone it has been a devastatingly tragic time."

In Tyrone three teenagers died after an incident outside the Greenvale Hotel at a St Patrick's night disco.

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