Northern Ireland news

All-Ireland singing success for sister of road crash victim Ella Trainor (6)

Aoife Trainor won the Scór na nÓg solo singing title

SINGING a song which means to 'bid goodbye to someone travelling home', the sister of a six-year-old girl killed in a road crash in Co Down is celebrating All-Ireland success.

Aoife Trainor (15) from Hilltown was crowned the Scór na nÓg solo singing champion, a title her father Martin said was "very much deserved".

He said he and his wife Susan "couldn't be any more proud" of Aoife's achievement following a difficult three years for the family.

They suffered the devastating loss of their younger daughter Ella in a tragic collision near Newry in January 2016.

Since then they have worked to keep their little's girl's memory alive through a series of fundraising events and the opening of 'Ella's room' in the Cruse bereavement offices in Newry.

In recent months, Aoife - a year 11 pupil at Sacred Heart College in Newry - has been focused on achieving singing success in the annual Scór na nÓg competition.

Representing Clonduff GAC and mentored by Anita Brannigan and Thomas Murnin, Aoife made her way through several stages of the contest to gain a place in the All-Ireland final.

With a song chosen by her mother, entitled Slán Abhaile, Aoife was supported by family and friends who travelled to Castlebar, Co Mayo to see her go for glory.

"Aoife has been competing in this competition since she was 11 and every year she has got that bit further," said Mr Trainor.

"Around 100 people went down from Hilltown to support her, which was fantastic.

"She wasn't confident, and there were nerves there from us. I don't think she realised how big a thing it was.

"I asked her in the Ulster semi-final if she was nervous and she said 'I don't get nervous until I stop singing', which is probably the best way to be."

Mr Trainor said the song she sang had a special meaning, even though they were unaware of the significance when it was chosen.

"This year she was singing a song called Slán Abhaile. Susan found it and we all thought it would be perfect," he said.

"To be honest we didn't have Ella in mind when Aoife chose the song to perform and we didn't realise to a few months later, until someone said to us about what it actually meant, to wish someone 'safe home'.

"But maybe that makes it more special.

"Of course, she wasn't on stage on her own, we all know that.

"Aoife is a very special girl who sang a very special song and was just outstanding in a very tough competition.

"It is three years since Ella was taken from us and it's always there, but things like this keep us all busy, it was a great event.

"This has been an awful time for us all and what Aoife has achieved is just unbelievable and we couldn’t be any more proud."

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