20 May 2022

'Our hearts are broken into pieces': brother's emotional farewell to Longford crash victim

Ciaran McDonnell

The late Ciaran McDonnell

The grief-stricken brother of a young man killed in a single vehicle road crash in Co Longford on New Year’s Day has told his funeral of how his family’s hearts have been left “broken” by the tragedy.


Twenty-three-year-old Ciaran McDonnell, from Longford town died after the car he was driving was found partially submerged in water off the main road between Granard and Ballinalee (R194) at Clonfin last Saturday.

There were emotional scenes inside St Mel’s Cathedral this morning as family and friends paid their final respects to the avid Manchester Utd supporter.

His brother, Martin, fought back tears as he spoke of how he and his family were still struggling to come to terms with news of the tragedy.

“I don’t even know where to start,” he told mourners. 

“Our hearts are broken into pieces. You were one of a kind and you were my best friend.”

He said despite the enormity of the past few days, the memory of his late brother would continue to live on.

“I promise you I will do you proud,” he added. 

“You are my hero and I will always love you. You were simply the best. You will be missed and you will always be in our hearts.”

A number of the late Mr McDonnell’s immediate family filed into the cathedral sporting white t-shirts emblazoned with an image of the young Longford man.

Floral tributes that read “brother” and “son” flanked both sides of Mr McDonnell’s coffin alongside a framed photo.

Gifts, including a Manchester Utd blanket and a teddy bear, were brought to the altar in remembrance of the Longford native as mourners joined together to sing a rendition of ‘Silent Night’.

In addressing members of the congregation from the altar, Fr Michael McGrath said it was “shocking” to believe how a young man’s life could be so tragically cut short on New Year’s Day.

“It was a day of hopes and resolutions that turned dark,” he said. “Ciaran’s sudden death has caught us all off guard. In the space of a moment our lives were turned upside down.”

Following funeral mass, burial took place in Ballymacormack Cemetery.

The late Ciaran McDonell is survived by his parents William and Patricia, brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, girlfriend Mandy, relatives and many friends.

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