Tragic road crash friends to be laid to rest

TRAGEDY…Flowers left at the scene of a fatal crash on the Clones Road outside Newtownbutler.

The first of two funerals for the young footballers who died as a result of last weekend’s horrific car crash in Newtownbutler takes place tomorrow (Friday).
Luke Lynch from Clones Road in the village died in the crash just a few miles from his home on Sunday evening last when the blue Peugeot 206 he was driving rounded a bend and hit a tree. His childhood friend Ronan Melarkey (21), who was the front seat passenger had been on life support, in a critical condition and fighting for his life. However he died from his injuries on Tuesday evening. 
The third young man Conan Connolly, also in his 20s, was seated in the rear and tried to escape but found himself trapped. He is recovering from non-life threatening injuries, understood to be two broken legs. The incident, just before 9pm, occurred when the three young men were on their way to collect a Chinese takeaway in Clones. 
Hundreds are expected to attend Luke’s funeral tomorrow morning in St. Mary’s Church in Newtownbutler at 11am while Ronan’s funeral takes place in the same church on Saturday at 2pm. Both men are past pupils of St Comhghall’s College and students from the school will form guards of honour at their funerals.
Luke is survived by his family Chrissie, Ricky, Melissa, Ellie and girlfriend Rosie (Conlon) while Ronan’s loss is being mourned by his father Paddy, brother Emmlyn and sister Stephanie. Ronan’s mother Tina passed away in April 2016 after a battle with cancer. 
The untimely death of the young footballers and the injuries sustained by their friend has stunned locals in their native Newtownbutler. The community has rallied around the families of the “two absolute gentlemen” as they come to terms with their tragic losses and to support Conan as he struggles with losing two close friends. Many tributes have been paid to the pair on social media all week, who will leave a remarkable impression for life on those left behind and be remembered as “the most humble, thoughtful and understanding young men.”
The tributes have also been widespread for their talents on the field – Luke represented Newtownbutler First Fermanaghs GFC at all levels while Ronan played GAA for St Patrick’s in Donagh and his college team Magee and soccer for Lisnaskea Rovers and Fermanagh’s Milk Cup teams.
A spokesman for Newtownbutler First Fermanaghs GFC said the club and wider community has been left devastated by the untimely deaths of two successful players. 
“It has been a terrible week for this parish losing two young talented men with their future ahead of them, but our club would like to wish Conan, who was involved in the tragic accident and lost two of his best friends, a speedy recovery. The club would like Conan to know that he has our full support going forward and if there is anything we can do, don’t hesitate to ask.”
Local Sinn Fein councillor Thomas O’Reilly knew all three growing up through youth club events and other activities in the village.
“This is just devastating news for all the families involved and the wider area. It’s terrible to see a split second change lives so drastically. Unfortunately the stretch of road where the accident happened has claimed a number of lives in the past and while the surface had been improved, for this to happen again is absolutely devastating.” 
A candlelit vigil is set to be held in the village on Sunday evening in memory of the two young men.




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