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Gardaí attended the scene of the incident on Sunday Alamy Stock Photo

Teenager who died in road tragedy was 'kind-hearted, pure rogue', mother tells funeral

The 18-year-old’s funeral mass was held at St Michael’s Church in Cappamore.

THE MOTHER OF teenager Donnacha Ryan (Luke) who died in a road tragedy on Sunday, told his funeral mass today that he was a “kind-hearted, pure rogue”.

Mr Ryan, who celebrated his 18th birthday last week, sustained fatal injuries in an apparent fall from a car outside the town of Cappamore, Co Limerick, in the early hours of Sunday.

Speaking at her son’s funeral at St Michael’s Church in the town, Nicola Ryan Luke told mourners: “From the moment Donnacha was born he was a pure rogue…despite his mischievous antics, Donnacha was a kind-hearted and caring, good boy, if any of his friends ever needed anything at any time of the day or night he was first to offer his help, often despite my unheeded protests”.

“As soon as Donnacha could walk he had a serious love for everything with an engine and a wheel, just like his Dad. He was an incredibly hard worker and he poured his money into his many vehicles,” she said.

“From a young age Donnacha loved all sorts of sports, he always had a ball or a hurley in his hand, he loved nothing better than playing with his beloved Cappamore, and then playing rugby, where he really excelled.

After speaking to his teammates and mentors over the past few days, his Dad Mikey and I, and his sister Aisling are immensely proud of Donnacha and how he conducted himself with all the teams he was involved with.

“The past few days have been a testament to Donnacha’s character, the amount of people that have passed through our doors has been incredible, he loved his friends and I’m so grateful he got to create so many memories by going to a Santa Ponsa and also celebrate his 18th birthday last week, these memories are so precious.

“As soul destroying as the last few days have been, the support and love shown to our family has been amazing, we can never thank you all enough, there are really no words to express our gratitude.”

“We love our little boy so much and our lives are never really going to be the same.”

Mr Ryan’s hurley, a rugby ball and his Cappamore GAA team jersey were left by his coffin to symbolise his passion for sport.

Loved ones also left Mr Ryan’s favourite trademark boots at the altar “as he was always mad for a bit of style”; a steering wheel, personalised number plate and a Scania jacket, to symbolise his “love of cars, tractors, motorbikes and trucks”; and framed photographs of his family and friends who he created lasting memories with in his “short life”.

Father Dick Browne, Cappamore parish priest, said it was a “confusing and heart-wrenching” time for Mr Ryan’s family and the whole local community.

“Donnacha had all of his life in front of him, he had just turned 18, his Leaving Certificate completed, he was into his trucks and cars and tractors and exhausts, he worked with his father – he was his right-hand man.”

“He was good fun, he hurled, he played rugby, he was into his cattle and his two dogs, and especially he was into all his friends.”

Browne told Mr Ryan’s friends, who gathered at the church, “the best way to honour Donnacha is to continue to live your lives to the best of your ability and to try and achieve your goals – ye will honour him by living your lives decently and honorably”.

Only hours before his death, Mr Ryan had helped ready the site of this year’s annual agricultural Cappamore Show, where a minute silence was observed for him on Sunday.

At today’s funeral upwards on 40 tractors from around the farming parish joined Cappamore GAA Club in performing a guard of honour as Mr Ryan’s cortège travelled to Doon Cemetery.

Gardaí appealed for witnesses to a “fatal road traffic incident” which they said occurred shortly before 4am on Sunday, “following an incident involving a car and a pedestrian on a local road at Dromsally, near Cappamore”.

“Anyone with information can contact Bruff Garda Station 061-382940 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800666111,” added a Garda spokesman.

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