Northern Ireland

Wife of All-Ireland winner is second person to die in Armagh road crash

 Ciara and Kevin McElvanna. Ciara died following the crash in Markethill on Saturday
Ciara and Kevin McElvanna. Ciara died following the crash in Markethill on Saturday

The wife of an All-Ireland winning Gaelic footballer has become the second person to die following a tragic road crash in Co Armagh.

Ciara McElvanna (44) passed away on Wednesday from injuries she suffered in a four-car collision near Markethill last weekend, which also claimed the life of friend Patrick Grimley.

She has been remembered as a “girl with the kindest heart”.

A mother-of-four, she is the wife of former GAA player Kevin McElvanna, who played at senior level for the Armagh county team from 2001 to 2006, winning an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medal.

Originally from Lurgan, Ms McElvanna worked as a nurse and lived with her husband, who is a consultant at Craigavon Area Hospital, and their four children in Madden, Co Armagh.

Police said she died at the Royal Victoria Hospital, four days after the crash on the Gosford Road.

Nine people were taken to hospital following the collision which claimed the life of 40-year-old Mr Grimley.

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They had been travelling home in a taxi minivan from a night out in Dundalk to celebrate Mr Grimley's 40th birthday when the crash happened.

His wife Ciera was also one of those injured in the collision.

Mr Grimley, the secretary of Madden Raparees GFC and a commentator on Armagh TV, was remembered as someone "fondly regarded near and far" at his funeral on Wednesday.

Mr Grimley recently celebrated his 40th birthday
Mr Grimley recently celebrated his 40th birthday

For the second time in the past week, Patrick Woods, chairman of the Madden club, has spoke of the loss of another dedicated member.

“It is with immense sadness that we learn of the tragic passing of our esteemed club member, Ciara McElvanna,” he said in a statement.

"Ciara was a loving and caring wife and mummy who, along with Kevin, supported their four children in all their hobbies and interests – with many evenings spent dashing between pitches throughout the county.

“Ciara was heavily involved in our club coaching underage teams in both football and camogie.

“Ciara relished her time selling tickets and fundraising over the last year for our club development draw.

“She will be greatly missed within our club and community by all those who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

Paying tribute to Ms McElvanna, St Josephs Camogie Club in Madden also said she was “always willing to help out in any way she could”.

In a post on Facebook, the club said: “Our community has been dealt another devastating blow today with the untimely and tragic passing of Ciara McElvanna.

“Ciara was a valued member of our committee as well as being mummy to underage players Niamh, Claire and Aoife and also Dara her son.

“The girl with the kindest heart who was always willing to help out in any way she could.

“She and her husband Kevin were avid supporters and volunteers for both St Joseph’s camogie club and Ropairì na Madáin."

Police have continued to appeal for information following the crash. 

"A full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision is ongoing," a PSNI spokesperson said.

"Officers would appeal to anyone with any information or who may have dash-cam or mobile phone footage available to contact them at the Collision Investigation Unit at Sprucefield on 101."

Requiem Mass for Ms McElvanna will be celebrated in St Joseph’s Church, Madden on Saturday at 11am followed by burial in adjoining cemetery.