School mourns death of second graduate

A TEENAGER who died in a weekend car accident was one of two recent graduates of a Cork city school killed on the roads in less than a fortnight.

Brian Finn had attended his graduation ball last Wednesday with fellow students who sat the Leaving Certificate at Coláiste Chríost Rí in June.

The 18-year-old was driving a car with four of his friends as passengers, when it crashed near his home at Spur Hill, Togher, just outside the city at around 9pm on Saturday.

On Sunday, September 13, another recent Coláiste Chríost Rí graduate Gearóid Coakley from Five Mile Bridge near Ballinhassig died in a car crash near Boherboy, Co Kerry.

Principal Sean Culhane said the school community is devastated by news of this second tragedy in such a short space of time.

“Brian was a quiet, unassuming guy with lots of friends; a really lovely lad. The school sends its heartfelt sympathy to his family and many friends,” he said.

The school had already set up crisis management and bereavement support for students affected by Mr Coakley’s death, as some of his former classmates who did transition year when he entered fifth year are still students there.

Mr Culhane said these supports would be extended for those affected by the latest tragedy and a liturgical service will be held for Mr Finn’s close friends.

It is believed Mr Finn had just brought in hay at his home on Saturday night when he decided to go for a drive with four of his friends.

The accident happened just a mile from the family home he shared with his parents, brother and two sisters. All five occupants of the car were taken to Cork University Hospital, where Mr Finn was later pronounced dead.

He had recently started a mechanical engineering course at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork and was a member of the 37th Cork Scout Troop, based in Togher.

Troop spokesman David P Barry said Mr Finn would be missed by all whose lives he had touched over the years.

“Brian loved to be doing things. He was big into cars and mechanical stuff.

“He was a leader in the scouts. He was a great lad to talk to and he could talk to anyone. He was far more mature than a lot of lads his age,” he said.

In Sneem, Co Kerry, a 53-year-old retired garda died when his car rolled back and trapped him as he was trying to push it in the early hours of yesterday.

Jim Fitzgerald was giving a lift home to a neighbour after a night out when his silver Mercedes Benz ran out of diesel after rounding a bend half a mile from Sneem village on the R568 Killarney road at around 3am.

He was attempting to make the car safe and push it to the side of the road when it rolled backwards.

Emergency services were summoned but Mr Fitzgerald was pronounced dead at the scene. A single man, he had retired in his 40s from the gardaí.

He had served in Cork city before returning to his native Sneem, where he ran a small hotel for a time.

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