Town devastated over loss of three pals who were never apart
THE banter amongst the patrons of the Silver Dollar bar in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, last night should have been of the second day of the Listowel Races.
The annual racing festival in the nearby Co Kerry town is a big attraction for all punters from west Limerick and, traditionally, Newcastle West decamps to the track on the Monday of the race week.
Not so yesterday.
A photograph of Richard Feury (37), Tommy Holmes and Tommy Murphy (32) wearing their green Limerick jerseys near Croke Park from July 2007 hangs in the bar.
They would normally be in the Silver Dollar on the opening night of the festival, but never arrived on Sunday.
Proprietor Patrick O'Kelly said all three were lovely lads. "They used to come in there, they'd drink their few pints and have a bit of craic," he said.
"They were big into pool, the soccer, the races and liked the horses. They'd always sit there at that corner of the bar and talk to the rest of the boys," Mr O'Kelly recalled.
"About 10pm last night (Sunday), we started getting phone calls that there was a crash back on the road and we were hoping at that stage that it wouldn't be anyone we'd know. Unfortunately it was.
"There were rumours that Richard was in it . . . we knew the two boys were with him. They were always together, you'd never see one without the other, they were great friends,"he said.
Patrick and Eileen O'Donovan -- parents-in-law to Richard Feury -- laid flowers at the scene of the collision. The popular butcher married their daughter Patricia in March 2006 and passed the scene of their wedding celebrations -- the Devon Inn -- just minutes before he was killed. Their son, Josh, will celebrate his third birthday in a few weeks.
Mr O'Donovan said his daughter had been speaking to her husband moments before the crash and he mentioned he had "broke even" with the horses at the races.
"He was a very down-to- earth man. He loved his job, his family and his little boy. I don't know what is going to happen," he said.
"We are devastated. They took all the precautions getting a taxi back from the races," he added.
At Tom Griffin's butchers in the town square, a photograph of Richard's son is placed alongside his certificate from the 'Further Education Training Awards'. He placed the photograph where he could admire it each day while working at the shop counter.
"He worked here for 15 years. Nobody knows what to say," Tom said.
The friendship between the men was a tight bond. Richard chose Tommy Holmes to be Josh's godfather. Tommy Holmes comes from a farming background in Feenagh. He also travelled to Old Trafford to see Manchester United on several occasions.
On the Ardagh road, flags were flying at half mast at Pallas Foods where Tommy Murphy worked, while prayers were offered for all three men at Mass in the region yesterday. Newcastle West parish priest Fr Frank Duhig said it was a very sad day for the region.