The devastated girlfriend of Cathal McCrory – the teenager who died in a road traffic collision on Saturday – has paid a moving tribute on social media.
Cathal had been the front seat passenger in a car which was involved in a collision on the Circular Road at Katesbridge during the early hours, while two others in the vehicle were injured.
Girlfriend Skye Milliken shared her heartbreak on social media by posting photographs of she and Cathal together.
And the words which accompanied her tribute to the popular young Dromore man were simple but apt: “Forever 18. Sleep tight Cathal, I love you.”
Plans are now being made for Cathal’s funeral.
It will take place this Tuesday, leaving his home on the Dromara Road in Dromore, at 11am, making its way to St Colman’s Church for Requiem Mass at 12noon, after which he will be laid to rest in the adjoining graveyard.
In a death notice, Cathal is described as the “dearly loved son of Peter and Pauline, loving brother of Declan (Zoe), Niamh (George) and Ronan (Alex), cherished grandson of Sean and the late Annie McCrory and Jack and the late Teresa Campbell and adored boyfriend of Skye”.
The family are asking those planning to attend to wear casual clothing to his funeral in tribute to Cathal.
The loss of another young life on local roads has once again plunged the community into heartbreak.
Tributes are being paid to Cathal as family and friends struggle to come to terms with the enormity of their loss.
One friend wrote: “There are enough words on this earth to describe how amazing of a human you were…You made every person you met smile. We love you and we will never forget you x”.
St Colman’s Primary School in Dromore, where Cathal attended and his mum Pauline works, has expressed “deep sadness” at the news.
The school said: “On behalf of our whole school community I want to extend our sympathies to Pauline and Peter and to Cathal’s siblings, Niamh, Ronan and Declan and to the extended McCrory family.
“We keep all of them in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time. May his beautiful soul rest in peace. St. Colman pray for him.”
And St Patrick’s College in Banbridge, which Cathal had attended, described him as “highly regarded” and added:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire McCrory family at this difficult time.
“May the lovely Cathal Rest In Peace.”
The school was planning to open for a time on Sunday afternoon to allow past and present members of the school community to meet.
The local GAA community has also been remembering Cathal and offering support and sympathy to his family at this tragic time.
Dromara GAC said: “We are all deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of our past football player Cathal McCrory.
“We send our sincere condolences to his parents Peter and Pauline, brothers Declan and Ronan, sister Niamh, girlfriend Skye, grandparents, uncles, aunts, wider family circle and friends.
“Everyone at Dromara GAC has you all in our thoughts and prayers.
“Mary Queen of Gael pray for him.
“May he rest in peace.”
And BallelaCLG also also offered condolences on the “devastating and untimely passing”.
“Cathal was a former underage hurler and brother to our Senior Camog Niamh Mc Crory and previous Senior Hurler Declan and Ronan,” the club said.
“We extend our sympathies to Cathal’s parents Peter and Pauline. His brothers Declan and Ronan, sister Niamh and girlfriend Skye.
“Loving son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, boyfriend and friend.
“Mary Queen of the Gael Pray for him!
With the funeral on Tuesday, Cathal’s family have directed that donation, if desired, can be made for Air Ambulance NI, witih cheques to be made payable to Brian Poots & Sons, Funeral Services, 106 Skeagh Road, Dromore, BT25 2PZ.