CLOSE friends who were first on the scene have revealed the horror of discovering two young men on the side of the road after a fatal car crash.
Gavin Doyle (22) and Tom Kearney (24) were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the outskirts of Longford town early yesterday.
Kayleigh McGann, Mr Kearney's girlfriend, is also believed to have been thrown from the car as it struck a ditch and crossed over to the other side of the road, where it struck a stone wall and overturned.
She was hospitalised along with Stephen Faughnan, who is understood to have been driving the Honda Civic car.
Friends of the young men said they had been socialising in a house near the village of Kenagh before they decided to travel in two separate cars after making a last-minute decision to visit the popular Spiral Tree venue in Longford town about eight miles away.
The crash happened near Stonepark on the main Kenagh to Longford road around 12.30am. The second car was first one the scene.
"It was horrific," one of the young men in the second car said. "We came around a corner and the driver of the other car waved us down. We rushed over to the other two guys in the ditch to see if they were breathing but there was no sign. We noticed a girl down the road.
"It will take us an awful long time to get over this. It was a last-minute decision to go out."
Ms McGann, who is in her early 20s and from Kenagh, remained in Tullamore Regional Hospital yesterday, where her condition was described as stable, as family members waited to tell her that her boyfriend was killed in the crash.
Insp Paul Cuttle from Longford garda station yesterday appealed for witnesses as they tried to piece together the final minutes before the crash.
Gardai were still waiting to interview the two survivors -- including Mr Faughnan, who was later discharged from Mullingar Hospital -- to try to piece together where everyone was sitting in the vehicle.
It is understood emergency services were at the scene near Stonepark within 10 minutes.
Gardai are satisfied alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Ardagh parish priest Fr Pat Lennon, a relative of the Faughnan family, who was speaking on their behalf, said they were absolutely "devastated and grieving for the families".
Mr Kearney was from Ardagh and worked as a mechanic.
He is survived by his parents Tom Snr and Sheena and sister Deirdre.
The body of Mr Doyle was due to be brought home to the family's house at their pub, Doyle's bar the El Paso, in Kenagh last night.
The young man helped his mother Tess in the pub and also liked working with machinery in his role as a farming contractor and seasonal worker with Bord na Mona. He is survived by his father, a builder, Brian, and brothers Tommy, Gary and Shane.
Kenagh parish priest Fr Tom Barden said: "He had a big circle of friends and his mother described him as 'larger than life'. He was good natured and helped out as much as he could at home."
Gardai appealed for anyone travelling the Kenagh to Longford road between 12.15am and 12.45am to contact them at 043 3350570.
Meanwhile, the Garda Ombudsman is investigating a crash in which a garda had to be cut out of his patrol car after a collision with a four-wheel drive vehicle at Lacey's Cross, Newcastle West in Co Limerick yesterday afternoon.
The garda was in a stable condition at University College Hospital, Limerick last night.