Families share snippets of short, bright lives as a town mourns its darkest day

A RED rally jacket and a black riding hat. A red rose and a school photograph.

Memories of lives led and lost, laid out in the cold corners of St Patrick's Church, Fermoy, Co Cork, where mourners huddled to pay last respects to two young students.

If the wind outside was bitter, the words inside were not. The father of 19-year-old Clíona Magner, who discovered the bodies of his daughter and her former boyfriend Wayne Roche at a house in Bishopstown, Cork city, last Friday night, spoke only of the overwhelming support his family had received in the wake of their tragic loss. His remaining young children, daughter Bronagh, 14, and son Darragh, 10, listened, distraught.

Standing at the altar before the funeral ceremony began, Pat Magner and his wife Deirdre shared with the packed congregation snippets of Clíona's short life.

Deirdre described how Clíona had no interest in clothes, how she lived in tracksuit bottoms, hoodies and runners and how, even when it came to her Debs, she had no interest in the cosmetics of it all.

"About two weeks beforehand, she didn't have a dress, so we went off into town and I picked out a black one, Clíona's favourite colour. She tried it on in the dressing room and then came out saying: 'It fits, it's fine, I'm gone, you pay,' That's the kind of girl she was."

Clíona's uncle Finian spoke of her love of ponies and showjumping and recently of rally driving everything she tried her hand at approached with the same dedication and enthusiasm.

He told of driving to tow her off a roundabout in Clonmel one a cold, damp Sunday morning, where, in red rally suit, sunglasses on, mobile phone in hand, she had "created one of the most authentic works of modern art displayed on a roundabout".

The young mechanical engineering student at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) could "strip a car faster than any man" and was "a loveable rogue whose most memorable moment recorded in her sixth year yearbook was doing skids outside St Colman's College in Fermoy".

Wayne Roche's Alma Mater, not far from where Clíona had been a student at Loreta Convent during their teenage years.

The 20-year-old had also gone on to study at CIT his choice was catering. The two had been in a relationship less than a year when they broke up. The last time they were seen alive together was in the Outpost Bar in Bishopstown, where they met for a drink last Wednesday night. They were found dead from gunshot wounds on Friday by Pat Magner.

Wayne had shot his former girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.

Both coffins lay overnight in St Patrick's Church on Monday before separate funeral masses yesterday, a symbol of shared grief between the families.

Speaking at Wayne's funeral, which took place first, chief celebrant Fr Gerard Coleman said no one would ever know the extent of the pressures the young man faced and which he had been unable to share.

"We will never know what lay beneath the clouds that led him to lose his life so tragically on Friday last," he said. His family father Pat, mother Margaret, his older brother John, and younger brothers, Devin and Darren sat shell-shocked through the ceremony, struggling through readings and prayers.

When they finally left the packed church, it was to the strains of Guns and Roses' November Rain, before heading to Kilcrumper Cemetery outside Fermoy, Wayne's final resting place.

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