Double tragedy stuns locals

Two communities in west Waterford were yesterday trying to deal with the shock of the double tragedy in Kinsale.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be made for Liam Coffey, from Cappoquin, and Michael Coleman, from Dungarvan, who were pronounced dead at a cottage in the Co Cork tourist town. Both were aged 22.

They were both from families well known in their own communities, with those who knew them describing the Colemans and Coffeys as “highly respected, of high standing in the area”.

Mr Coffey was a talented GAA player, lining out for many underage teams for the Affane-Cappoquin club in both hurling and football from an early age. He was corner-back on the team that won a minor county championship in 2008, in his third season as a panellist, and was known for his love of the club. Both of his sisters play camogie, and the family is known for its GAA tradition.

“He was very dedicated. He would always be at training, and was a quiet lad,” juvenile chairman Fintan Murray said yesterday. “He played up until minor level, when he did the Leaving Cert, and then he was following his career. He also travelled a little bit, with whatever his career brought him to, so wouldn’t have been as much involved with the club more recently. It’s the same as all young people now, they often have to travel.”

It is understood Liam spent time in Malta in recent years.

News of his death came as “a huge shock” to the community, said Mr Murray. “In a small community, everyone gets to know each other and all of the young people would have been friendly growing up.

“It’s a big shock to the young people around.”

Another local man who knows the family said Mr Coffey was “a nice, quiet lad” and would have been popular around Cappoquin. “The family would be good, quiet people, fierce nice,” said the local man.

Mr Coffey grew up in the family home a few miles outside Cappoquin with his sisters and parents, Fionnuala and Richard.

His friend, Mr Coleman, graduated this year from Cork Institute of Technology and began a job last week as a chemical engineer with pharmaceutical multinational Eli Lilly at Dunderrow, near Kinsale.

He was a past pupil of St Augustine’s College in Dungarvan, having grown up in the Ballinclamper/Ballinacourty area on the seaside edge of the town, with his brother and parents, Kevin and Ann.

Ann Coleman works as a teacher, while Kevin is a lecturer at CIT.

Damien Geoghegan, who knows Colemans, said he and everyone else familiar with them were “stunned” by the news.

“They would be a very solid, decent family, very well respected,” said Mr Geoghegan. “Michael was a very quiet young man, went to school here, and was involved with the No Name Club and into music. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. It’s terrible, an awful tragedy.”

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