'What shone through was her smiling, sunny disposition'
A cycling club has paid a heartfelt tribute to one of its members who become the latest casualty on Irish roads, after she was involved in a collision with a car.
The woman, childcare worker Tonya McEvoy, was part of a cycling group on a leisure trip when the accident happened on the outskirts of Rathcoffey, Co Kildare, on Sunday morning.
In a touching statement on Monday Denis Gleeson of the Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club said Ms McEvoy was "at the outset of her cycling odyssey and what shone through was her smiling, sunny disposition and her sheer joy at being out on the bike".
"It was with great shock and deep sadness that we lost Tonya McEvoy on a Sunday spin yesterday.
"Tonya started as one of our talented beginner women last summer and took to club cycling with a passion. Her sister said that "cycling was a big part of her life and she loved every minute of it. She was so proud to be a part of Orwell Wheelers and wearing the colours".
"She was at the outset of her cycling odyssey and what shone through was her smiling, sunny disposition and her sheer joy at being out on the bike. She immediately fitted in with any group and brought great energy and enthusiasm to the spins," he said.
"Tonya McEvoy was one of our new rising stars having only joined us during the summer of 2016. She loved cycling and would be out on her bike any chance she got, proudly sporting her full Orwell gear," the statement continued.
"I first met Tonya on those introduction spins we held for the new women last year. She was by and far one of the strongest of the new crop," the statement continues.
"Last Sunday she was out on a regular spin with some of her usual companions when the unthinkable happened."
The cycling club has been asked to act as guard of honour at the young woman's funeral, which will take place on Wednesday in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Ballyboden at 11am.
Ms McEvoy, who was in her mid-30s and from Rathfarnham, south Dublin, was understood to be at the back of the group when the accident occurred on the R408 from Rathcoffey to Maynooth.
According to local sources, Mass was being held in the nearby Church of The Sacred Heart when tragedy struck.
Local Rathfarnham councillor Emma Murphy (FF), who was in school with Ms McEvoy, said the incident was heartbreaking.
"She's a lovely girl from a lovely family. They're a very active, prominent family," she said.
"My heart just goes out to them. My deepest sympathies are with her family, her mam Pat, dad Brian and her brothers Brian and Keith and sister Ciara.
"Obviously my thoughts are with the cycling club as well, it can't have been an easy day for anyone who was out on that cycle," she added.