TWO young Galway friends who lost their lives in a crash near Claregalway should have been in the US at the time of the tragedy.
It emerged yesterday that both Niall Greaney and Liam Loughlin had deferred until next week their plans to travel and work in the US for the summer in order for Niall to play a championship hurling game this weekend.
Niall (19), a student at Galway-Mayo IT and Liam (19), a student at NUI Galway, were killed when the car in which they were travelling went out of control and struck a wall at Loughgeorge on the N17 in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Another friend was seriously injured and is recovering at University College Hospital, Galway. The driver of the car was released without charge after being questioned by gardai about the circumstances of the accident.
A file is to be sent to the DPP.
All four young men were close friends and come from well-respected families in the Claregalway, Carnmore, Turloughmore area, about eight miles from Galway city.
Niall Greaney's father, John, is a first cousin of Progressive Democrats TD Noel Grealish and the Greaney family, including Niall, had helped canvass for him at the general election.
Niall was a talented hurler and was due to line out with his club, Turloughmore, in their Co Galway Senior Championship clash with Craughwell over the weekend.
That game has now been postponed as a mark of respect.
Liam played soccer with Claregalway and both were eagerly looking forward to spending the summer in the US.
Both had been working part-time at the Claregalway Hotel and yesterday hotel owner Paul Gill said that the entire community in the Claregalway area was finding it very difficult to comprehend the enormity of the tragedy.
"Niall has been working here since we opened three years ago. He was a great guy, a hard worker who wanted to earn a few bob while going through college," said Mr Gill.
"Liam was the same. He joined us about 18 months ago and they were both lovely fellas. They were extremely well-liked, young lads with their whole lives in front of them."
"It's a terrible blow to the hotel and to the entire community here. We can only imagine the impact it is having on their families. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them."
Meanwhile, the latest victim in a grim week on the roads of Co Galway was named locally as Daniel Kelly (20), from Crowe St in Gort.
He was killed instantly when his motorcycle crashed into a traffic control barrier just off the Galway-Gort road late on Wednesday night.