A TALENTED GAA footballer killed following a crash in Sligo will be laid to rest in his native Mayo today.
Twenty-one-year-old IT Sligo student, J. J. McHugh died at Sligo General Hospital on Friday afternoon following a two-vehicle smash near Ballinacarrow around nine o'clock that morning.
A well-known GAA player from Kiltimagh, he was driving his Volkswagen Bora car from Sligo towards Tubbercurry when he was in a collision with a Peugeot van driven by a man in his 50s from nearby Lavagh, who was travelling in the direction of Sligo.
Such was the ferocity of the crash, near a bridge outside the village of Ballinacarrow, that the engine was ripped from one of the vehicles. Both drivers received serious injuries and were taken to Sligo General Hospital. The other driver's injuries were not life-threatening.
Two doctors who came on the scene attended the injured before emergency services arrived.
Afterwards, the road was closed, with diversions in place, while forensic collision investigators examined the scene.
Kiltimagh GAA Club Chairman Brendan Mooney described J. J. McHugh as one who "always had a smile on his face." He added: "He was always first to training.
"He will be sorely missed, not only by his team mates but by everyone in the Kiltimagh community."
He had been a part-time mechanical engineering student at IT Sligo.
In an email message to students, IT President Professor Terri Scott said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time."
He was a past pupil of St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh.
His two younger brothers, James and Liam, currently are students at the school. J. J. had also worked with WestA-Wake Eggs in Kiltimagh, operated by Noel and Gregg Mulhern.
He was named 2012 Junior Player of the Year Award at the Kiltimagh GAA Club annual dinner dance earlier this year.
Today, Tuesday, his remains will be removed from the family home in Cahir, outside Kiltimagh, to St. Joseph's Church, Aghamore, for 12 o'clock Mass. Burial will take place afterwards in Knock Cemetery.
He is survived by his parents, Margaret and Jarlath; by a sister, Mary; and by James and Liam.