A teenager killed in Ireland’s worst road accident will be buried on his 20th birthday.
Paul Doherty, 19, was one of eight packed into a car which smashed into another vehicle in Co Donegal on Sunday.
The youths had been watching the World Cup final before they left Clonmany in the crowded vehicle but hit another car and careered into a third, killing a pensioner.
Driver Sean Kelly is the only one still alive but is seriously ill in hospital.
Mr Doherty’s uncle Cecil said: “Any one of these young men could have been driving the car. We feel very, very much for the Kelly family in particular whose son is seriously injured. Our heart goes out to them and we hope the community rallies behind them.”
Funerals of the eight victims will take place over the next three days. Some of the friends, aged between 19 and 23, had left their cars behind to take a lift after socialising in Clonmany.
They were all in the Volkswagen Passat which clipped a Renault Megane on the country road to Buncrana before crashing head on with a Toyota Corolla 200 yards away. The Volkswagen and Toyota ended up in a ditch. Alcohol was not a factor, police confirmed.
Mr Doherty insisted they were not partying and were all friends, commanding great respect in their home villages in the Inishowen beauty spot.
His nephew Paul, from the seaside village of Ballyliffin, had three brothers and a sister. His father is Felix and his mother Sally.
His uncle said his funeral would be held on his 20th birthday.
He added they had behaved responsibly in leaving their cars in Clonmany, close to where the accident happened.
“Paul was a very kind-hearted young man, very hard-working young man, he was also a really good cook,” he added.
He worked for an engineering contractor driving vehicles and heavy equipment. His friend Sean Kelly drives an articulated truck and was due to head for Paris next week.
John, father of one of the young victims, Mark McLaughlin, said they had all known each other since their early school days.
He has a farm at Ballynahone, Fahan, and added he did everything with his son, aged 21.
“Me and Mark were more like brothers,” the 44-year-old said.
“He’s been on the tractor with me since he was about 10.” He was in Letterkenny Hospital seeking news of his son when he heard he was killed instantly.
“I was that much stunned I didn’t really know how I felt,” he said.
“I just had to get out of the room at the time.”
The driver of the third car, who was alone, was killed. He was Hugh Friel, 66, an unmarried man from Dunaff, Clonmany, returning home after an evening at bingo in Buncrana.
The other victims were: Ciaran Sweeney, 19, from Ballyliffin; Patrick “PJ” McLaughlin, 21, from Rockstown, Tooban, Burnfoot; Damien McLaughlin, 21, from Umricam, near Buncrana; Eamonn McDaid, from Ballymagan, Buncrana; and James McEleney, 23, from Minaduff, Clonmany.