Tuesday 21 August 2018

Community numb after mum and son (14) killed in crash

The scene of the tragedy in Ballygar, Co Galway, in which Tina and Joey Kelly died on Sunday. Photo: Hany Marzouk
The scene of the tragedy in Ballygar, Co Galway, in which Tina and Joey Kelly died on Sunday. Photo: Hany Marzouk
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Schoolmates of a teenager who died alongside his mother when their car hit a tree gathered to remember their friend yesterday as tributes were paid to the young family.

Tina Kelly, who was in her 30s, died instantly alongside her only child, 14-year-old Joey, after their car hit a tree at Ballaghlea, Ballygar, Co Galway, at about 9.45pm on Sunday.

Tina Kelly. Photo: Caroline Crawford
Tina Kelly. Photo: Caroline Crawford

They were the among four people killed in less than 24 hours on our roads following two other fatal collisions in Co Sligo and Co Kildare.

On Sunday afternoon, a motorcycle passenger in her 50s died after the vehicle she was travelling on near Drumkinsellagh, Co Sligo, collided with a car. In another incident yesterday, a 38-year-old man lost his life after the 4X4 he was driving hit a ditch. The incident occurred at 3.15pm near Ladychapel, Maynooth, with officers from Leixlip garda station appealing for witnesses.

In the Galway tragedy, 14-year-old Joey Kelly had just finished his first year at Coláiste Mhuire in Ballygar, where his mother had also spent the past year as a pupil completing her PLC course in healthcare.

Read more: Tragic mum and son (14) crash 'second tragedy to befall family in recent years'

Yesterday, the school opened for pupils and their parents who gathered to remember the popular student and his mother. Counsellors were on hand to help the large number of students.

A statement from the school read: "We are deeply saddened by these events. Our sympathy and thoughts are with Joey and Tina's family and friends. They will both be greatly missed by all who knew them."

Joey Kelly. Photo: Caroline Crawford
Joey Kelly. Photo: Caroline Crawford

Principal Emma O'Malley remembered Joey as a student who "always had a smile on his face".

This was echoed by parish priest Fr Michael Breslin, who spent time with the family yesterday.

"My abiding memory of Joey is his constant smile. I never saw him without it.

"Tina and Joey were very close, as were the entire family. It's a numbing time for Tina's parents and her brothers and sister, but this is a close-knit, small community and people will rally around not just now but in the time ahead," he said.

Ms Kelly and her son are survived by her parents Tom and Margaret, brothers David and Pat and sister Sabrina.

The family are well known and respected locally, particularly in horse racing circles, with Tom and his son David both involved in training horses. Friends and relatives comforted the family at their home yesterday as locals gathered to pay their respects.

Tragically, this is not the first bereavement suffered by the family. In December 2014, Tina's sister Carol died. A memorial run in her honour, which was scheduled for next week, has been cancelled as a mark of respect.

Joey's father Joey Cahill, a well known point-to-point jockey, also died tragically in a car crash in 2006.

Irish Independent

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