A young soldier killed in a fatal road crash in Co Mayo has been remembered as someone who touched so many people’s lives.
The funeral service of Jack O’Hora (21) was held earlier today at a packed St Muredach’s Cathedral following his death earlier this week.
His friend Ricky Langdon (28) also died when the car they were travelling in hit a tree at around 11.30pm on Monday.
Mourners at Mr O’Hora’s funeral were told today that he was on the cusp of what would have been a fine career with the British Army.
Mr O’Hora from Castleconnor, Co Sligo, was a model soldier and a top marksman, according to his commanding officer in the Ist Battalion Irish Guards.
The officer who had Jack under his command on recent training tours of duty in The Falklands and Kenya described him as “an absolute pleasure to work with” as well as being utterly dependable and a passionate sportsman.
A bearer party composed of the young soldier’s comrades carried his remains into and out of the cathedral. Burial, with full pomp and military ceremony, took place later in Killanley Cemetery, west Sligo.
A guard of honour was provided by Mr O’Hora’s former teammates from the Castleconnor GAA Club in west Sligo and Ballina Rugby Club.
Throughout the funeral, there were scenes of intense grief.
Mr O’Hora’s heartbroken parents, Kieran and Caroline, sisters, Hannah and Scarlet, and brother Danny, occupied front pews along with other relatives.
In his homily, Fr Liam Reilly, the chief celebrant of funeral Mass, said a dark cloud had descended on the Ballina commiunity since the tragic deaths on Monday night.
He pointed out that Jack had been a young man “heading towards the prime of life with the world at his feet”.
Fr Reilly went on to say that since the tragedy he had nothing but kind words uttered about Jack.
“He touched so many lives in so many positive ways,” the curate continued.
“There will be a Jack shaped vacancy in all your lives from now on.”
Fr Reilly concluded his homily by impressing on younger mourners what he described as the “haunting fragility” of life.
“Cherish life,” he urged mourners. “It is God’s gift to you all. Cherish your family every single day.
“Be careful. You owe it to the memory of your wonderful friend, Jack O’ Hora.”
John Smyth, speaking on behalf of the O’Hora’s, said Jack’s death had not only been a family loss but the young people of Ballina had also lost a dear, dear friend.
At the graveyard in Killanley, a bugler from the Irish Guards sounded the Last Post as the remains were laid in their last resting place.
Ricky Langdon will be laid to rest tomorrow in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina, following Requiem Mass at 12.30pm in St. Patrick’s Church.
A third male injured in Monday night’s crash at Killala Road, Ballina, is continuing to recover at Mayo University Hospital.
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