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Tributes pour in for crash victims who died watching sport they loved


Joe Lane, a motorsports photographer from Galway

Joe Lane, a motorsports photographer from Galway

Expectant mother Caroline
Cleary, from Co Wexford

Expectant mother Caroline Cleary, from Co Wexford


Joe Lane, a motorsports photographer from Galway

Two spectators killed when a rally car ploughed into a crowd died watching the sport they loved, those close to them said yesterday.

Tributes have been paid to female rally co-driver Caroline Cleary and photographer Joe Lane, who died when a Ford Escort lost control during the Cavan Stages Rally on Sunday.

Five other spectators and the Escort's driver and co-driver were injured.

Ms Cleary (30), an experienced navigator and co-driver with Wexford Motor Club, was watching boyfriend Sean Hayde take part in the rally as the tragedy unfolded.

Pat O'Dowd, secretary of Wexford Motor Club, said the sport was Ms Cleary's life and the close-knit motorsports community was in "deep shock" at her untimely death.

"Caroline was a very active and valued member of the club. She was involved in rallying from a young age and if she wasn't competing as a navigator she was always willing to help," said Mr O'Dowd.

"Her whole life was motorsports. She lived for it," he said.

The secretary described Caroline as a very "jolly" person. "I don't think I ever saw Caroline not smiling. She was always giggling. She always had a smile on her face".

The young woman had moved to the west Cork village of Enniskeane just two months ago to be closer to her boyfriend, who is from there.

Meanwhile, staff at Niall's restaurant at the Riverview Shopping Centre in Bandon, where Caroline had worked as a waitress, spoke of their shock at her death.

"Caroline was very bubbly, very friendly. It's a shock to hear about her tragic death. She'll be missed here," said manager Peter Moloney.

Alan Clarke, chairman of the Skibbereen Car and District Club, of which Mr Hayde is a member, passed the club's condolences to both families.

Mr Lane (50), from Kilgoggin, Co Galway, was a part-time motor sports photographer, who was well-known by rally drivers and motorsport fans across the country.

A member of Galway Motor Club for the last 20 years, one of Mr Lane's most treasured mementos was a photograph of himself and Scottish rallying legend Colin McRae from 2005. Mr McRae died in a helicopter crash in 2007.

Irish Independent