Prayers have been said at Mass in Bruff, Co Limerick, for two young Irish women, one who lost her life in a tragic road crash in Tipperary, and also for World University bronze medallist rower Ailish Sheehan, who sustained critical head injuries in a fall last weekend, writes David Raleigh.
Very Rev Canon Jim Costello, Bruff, prayed at St Peter and Paul's church this morning for both women.
Nicola Kenny, from Thurles, who was sitting in her aunt's car which had pulled into the hard shoulder of the M8 near Cashel last Monday, died when a truck collided with the vehicle from behind.
Nicola, her mother Ann and aunt Irene Whelan, had been on their way to Temple Street Children's Hospital, Dublin, to visit Nicola's baby who had been transferred there the previous day following her birth.
In an incredibly poignant twist of events, Nicola had just told her mother and aunt they could return to Thurles after she had taken a phone call from doctors at the hospital informing her baby Lilly-Rose was being transferred back to hospital in Tipperary after her condition had improved.
Canon Costelloe also asked the congregation to pray for Ailish Sheehan, who had grown up in Bruff.
Ms Sheehan suffered serious head injuries in a fall while out celebrating just hours after winning a bronze medal at the FISU World University Rowing Championships, in Poznan, Poland, last Sunday.
Skibbereen Rowing Club, home of Olympic silver medal champions Paul and Gary O'Donovan, were one of many sporting clubs who publicly stated their "thoughts and prayers are with Ailish and her family".
Phil Roche, President of Dooneen Athletic Club, where Ailish had been a member, said: "Ailish competed with Dooneen for a number of years both in javelin and in shot put.
"She represented Dooneen at Munster, national, and international competitions."
"She also competed internationally for schools competitions. Her father John is still a member of the club, and he would be a fantastic coach in javelin and in shot put, and indeed in all events."
"I would have been involved in coaching (Ailish) at different stages. She would also have done different events at different times, but her speciality would have been the javelin and shot put."
She described Ailish as "all rounder" and had "excelled" at various sports.
"We're all shocked by it, and we are only hearing bits of information coming back from Poland. All we can say is that Ailish and her whole family are in our prayers."
Ms Sheehan was placed on a life support machine at a Polish hospital immediately after her fall.
A family spokesperson said: "She's in a critical condition."