Belfast Telegraph

Third teenager almost lost his life in quarry drowning tragedy

By Staff Reporter

A third teenager was lucky to escape with his life following the drowning tragedy in the Republic which left two teenage friends dead.

Shay Moloney (15) died a hero while desperately trying to save his friend from drowning on their last day of school.

He and Jack Kenneally (15) were among a group of five who had been swimming in a flooded quarry near Knockanean, Co Clare.

A source close to the family said. "At one stage Jack jumped in and started to swim towards a small island in the middle, but got into difficulty.

"When Shay saw him struggling he went in to help his friend... I think they just both ran out of steam."

The source added that a third youth had a lucky escape after diving into the water to help his friends.

"I think the third person went out towards them, but when the boys started to struggle he managed to just back off and get out."

The quarry where the boys lost their lives has been described as a "local death trap".

Many residents in nearby Ennis fear its sheer depth can unexpectedly catch poor swimmers off guard.

There are signs at the entrance of the lands saying 'Danger - Deep Water - No Swimming' and 'Danger silt Pond, Deep Water, Keep Clear'.

However, according to locals they are largely ignored.

Ennis Councillor Mary Howard has called for Clare County Council to take immediate action following the tragic deaths.

"Whether we drain it or fill it up - we have to act now," she said. "This tragedy isn't going to stop teenagers from swimming in that quarry at all. Even on Thursday after the two boys were removed from the water, there were people swimming in it.

"It is about 80ft deep and can be extremely cold, even on a day like today ... It's a death-trap."

A spokesperson for Clare County Council told the Irish Independent that the site is private property and the signs were erected by the landowner.

Ennis Rugby Club and local schools led tributes to the sports-mad teens.

Richard Murphy, president of Ennis Rugby, said that Jack and Shay were "the heartbeat" of their successful U15 squad.

"They were the guys that led from the front, the guys that carried the fight, the guys that made the difference.

"As resolute and fearless as they were on the pitch, they were as funny, engaging and inspiring off the pitch. Our club was a better place for having them as part of it and their absence will be keenly felt."

Ennis parish priest Fr Tom Hogan added: "Ennis is a very small town and when a tragedy comes to one family, everyone feels their pain."

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