Final farewell to ‘brilliant’ young farmer (19) killed in tragic road crash

By Gordon Deegan

The grief-stricken father of 19-year-old road crash victim, Darragh Killeen, has told mourners that Darragh has been able to give the gift of life to four others through organ donation.

At his son’s funeral mass at Inch Church, Co. Clare, yesterday afternoon, Thomas Killeen told the packed church – and hundreds more outside – that farming enthusiast, Darragh has given the “gift of life” to two seriously ill people; and to two others where the organ donation has improved their quality of life.

Yesterday’s funeral mass was the second funeral mass to take place within the space of three days in the Kilmaley-Inch communities as the people came together to mourn the loss of cousins and great friends, Darragh Killeen and Oisin Cahill (18).

Oisin was pronounced dead on Easter Sunday after a road crash in the early hours of Easter Sunday morning at Woodstock outside Ennis.

Darragh died last Tuesday (April 3) from his injuries in the crash; but, not before his organs were donated. The recipients were prayed for in the Prayers of the Faithful at Darragh’s mass.

A third young man, Enda Hickey continues to receive treatment for his own injuries sustained in the one vehicle crash.

‘Beacon of hope’

Paying tribute to his son at the end of the funeral mass; Thomas Killeen said that Darragh “was a beacon of hope and love for all”.

Darragh was the light of anyone who met him – his presence alone would keep you cheerful.

Thomas said that his son was a mixture of many people – “and the goodness of all those people shone through in him”.

He said that Darragh “never said ‘no’ of anything that was asked of him or imposed on any person”.

Darragh was captain of the Kilmaley U21 ‘C’ hurling team and his heartbroken father said “he loved his hurling and his football – it didn’t matter too much to him if he won or lost”.

Thomas said that Darragh and Oisin did the same summer job together; adding that “they were in heaven like they are now”.

He said that the two – along with a couple of other friends, Shane and Tommy – purchased a caravan and last year completed some of the Wild Atlantic Way “and they were ready to continue their quest this year”.

Model tractors and farm animals

The first two symbols of Darragh’s life brought to the altar were model tractors and farm animals and mourners were told that they symbolised Darragh’s love of tractors.

Darragh knew from an early age that he was going to be a farmer and he loved his cows and calves. His bond with his animals was tremendous.

In his tribute, Thomas Killeen said that Darragh “was going to start farming on his own soon – he had so many great friends to help him because no matter who asked him for help, he would help”.

“Darragh and Oisin lived for their friends, hurling, tractors and animals,” he said.

He also said that Darragh had a great faith.

“He climbed Croagh Patrick on the last Sunday in July with friends and they were back from Mayo before most would be out of bed,” he said.

‘Brilliant boys’

Fr. Pat Larkin was chief celebrant at Oisin Cahill’s mass last Thursday (April 5) and at Darragh Killeen’s mass yesterday.

He told the congregation: “Our hearts are broken; our hearts are full of pain; and our hearts are living with sadness and having to say goodbye.”

It is not natural for parents or grandparents in the natural order of life to have to say goodbye to their children before themselves.

Fr. Larkin described Darragh and Oisin as “brilliant boys”.

“They brought fun and laughter and brightness and hope, worked hard and committed to whatever they took on,” he said.

Fr. Larkin said that two young lives have been cut so short.

No words will take away the pain; fill the void; or ease the hurt that is there right now.

Darragh is survived by his parents, Thomas and Hilda, brother, Senan and sister, Aoife. Darragh’s remains were later cremated at Shannon crematorium yesterday afternoon.