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Tattyreagh left ‘devastated' after welder (20) dies in Cavan crash

Gareth Wilson was a passenger in a car that struck a wall
Brendan Hughes

A YOUNG man from Co Tyrone tragically killed in a car crash in Co Cavan has been fondly remembered as a dedicated underage GAA footballer with a "cheeky smile".

Gareth Wilson (20), from Tattyreagh near Omagh, was a passenger in the car when it struck a wall on Station Road, Cootehill.

The driver and a second passenger, both aged in their twenties, were also injured in the single-vehicle crash on Sunday evening at about 5.55pm.

The driver was taken to Cavan General Hospital and the second passenger was airlifted to St James's Hospital in Dublin.

Mr Wilson was declared dead at the scene and his body was removed to Cavan General Hospital for a post mortem examination.

The road was closed as gardaí investigated the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

Mr Wilson worked as a welder and had studied at South West College and Omagh Christian Brothers school, according to his Facebook page.

He had played for Tattyreagh GAA club to under-18 level and was a full-back when his team won a coveted Tyrone under-14 championship.

Sean Darcy, treasurer of Tattyreagh GAC, last night fondly remembered his involvement in the club.

"We are absolutely devastated. He was a very friendly and likeable fella and had a great personality," he said.

"I knew him through the football. He would have been a very dedicated playing member, a hardworking and honest player.

"He would have had a very happy-go-lucky personality and would have been liked by all his team mates and coaches.

"He would have other family members actively involved in the club, uncles and cousins."

Distraught friends last night expressed their shock over his death online, posting scores of tributes and treasured pictures.

One friend said on Facebook: "You were always the life of the party lad, and things will never be the same without you. Going to miss you, pal."

Another fondly described how Mr Wilson had a "cheeky smile" and said they would "always hold the memories we had together".

SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan described the latest road death as an "utter tragedy" and expressed his condolences.

"In the past seven days, seven young people from Tyrone and Donegal, all in their twenties, have died on our roads," he said.

"The death of any young person is an utter tragedy and one that affects the entire community."

Sinn Féin councillor Stephen McCann said there was a "huge sense of shock" in the community over the tragedy.

"I want to firstly extend my deepest sympathies to Gareth's family and his many friends. My thoughts and prayers are also with those injured in this terrible accident," he said.

West Tyrone Sinn Féin councillor Glenn Campbell, who knew Mr Wilson when he was a student at South West College, also offered his condolences.

“It is deeply sad that another young life has been lost on our roads. Gareth’s untimely death will have come as a devastating blow to his family and many friends and a huge shock to the local community."

He added: "Gareth was very popular amongst his peers. He was a very pleasant and easy-going young man. Like many young people of his age, he seemed to take everything in his stride.

"Gareth’s family are highly respected in the local area and I know that the community will rally round to support his family and friends at this sad and difficult time."

Mr Wilson is survived by his mother Ellie Callaghan and father Lewis Wilson, and siblings Ashley Callaghan, Amy Wilson, Kyle McCluskey and Julie McCrea.

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