Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly: A hero is laid to rest

first_imgThe rattles and revs of the Subaru Impreza S12B WRC pierced the air as it travelled through Glenswilly this morning.That car saw Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly become a Donegal International Rally champion on three successive years with his co-driver Donall Barrett.But today, the Subaru was part of a heart-breaking final stage. Declan Boyle was in the driving seat, with Manus’ son Charlie by his side. The car was emblazoned with memorial images to lead the cortège to the funeral mass of the late Cllr Kelly at St Columba’s Church.The funeral took place on a glorious sunny day, but a dark cloud has hung over Donegal in the five numb days since Manus’ death.Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly tragically lost his life while taking part in the 2019 Donegal International Rally on Sunday. He was a cherished champion of the competition, having won the National rally in 2015 and the International three times in 2016, 2017 and 2018.But a fatal accident at Fanad Head on Sunday saw Donegal lose a motor sporting hero. Not only was he a humble sportsman, but he was a county councillor, a business owner, a GAA coach, a husband, a father, a role model and a friend to so many.“Life is a journey. For some of us it is short and we don’t understand why. Manus lived a full life and touched so many hearts just by who he was,” said. Fr Paddy Dunne, chief celebrant. Eight other priests concelebrated the mass.700 people gathered at St. Columba’s to celebrate Manus’ life and say a sombre farewell. Among the mourners were Manus’ wife Bernie, their five children Annie, Mandy, Charlie, Conan and baby Bella; Manus’ father Donal and mother Jacquline, his brothers Donal, Caolan, Teigharan and Leon and sisters Breigeen, Kelda, Ciara and Shannagh.Manus’ co-pilot Donall Barrett, who received minor injuries in the crash, attended the funeral and received a kind-hearted round of applause from the congregation.Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin and Aide-De-Camp to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Comdt Caroline Burke joined the congregation, alongside all Donegal County Councillors and Chief Executive Seamus Neely. For a man who died at 41, Fr Dunne spoke of how Manus had achieved so much in his life.Those triumphs were symbolised in the offerings brought to the altar by Manus’ children and young people who loved him so well.They included a family photo, symbolising how family was first for Manus, always. The Jim Kennedy Memorial Trophy, which Manus and Donal held high in their rally victories. Manus’ helmet, a miniature rally car, and a little Honda 90 were brought up, as well as a tractor in memory of Manus’ grandfather, from whom he got his name and nickname ‘Mandy’.Representing his other sporting loves was a Glenswilly GAA Jersey and a Donegal flag. A County Council tie represented how his achievements in politics had only just begun. Manus was elected to Donegal County Council for the first time in May, representing the Fianna Fáil party.The council had accorded Manus and Donal with a civic reception in 2018, and this trophy was brought to the altar along with the duo’s Sports Personality award. Also brought up was a photo of Manus’ businesses in Letterkenny – Tailored Facility Solutions, Haz Waste and Uptown Cafe.Manus had gathered many trophies in his career and was a legend to his fans, but Fr Dunne said that Bernie and his children were his number one.Fr Dunne spoke of Manus’ warm, cheerful and good-humoured personality.Friends remember his ‘big happy smiley head’ and Fr Dunne recalled one saying: “When he went in somewhere, he went in smiling and cheerfully greeted people. He didn’t take the smile with him, he left that smile in the person’s heart.”Fr Dunne spoke of Manus’ pride in his Glenswilly GAA community and how his voice will be missed from the sidelines. He coached and encouraged many children in the best way, and was described as a big kid himself.“He never grew up in many ways and that is why kids love him and he loved kids,” Fr Dunne said.Manus’ business and political ambitions were remembered, as Fr Dunne looked back on happy memories of his election to council just a few weeks ago when his supporters lifted him high.“All the people, we lift him high today. We lift him high to God. We lift him high in thanks for the gifts we have received from his man, the friendship, the memories, the good times, the happy times, the joy, the encouragement, the love,” Fr Dunne said.Despite all the happy memories, the shock and anguish over Manus’ passing was still evident and young and old united to say goodbye to a hero. There were tearful scenes at the four guards of honour, carried out by local councillors, Glenswilly GAA, Glenswilly National School and the Donegal Motor Club.The remains of the late Manus “Mandy” Kelly are carried his resting place in Conwal graveyard as his sons wear garlands from his wins in the Donegal International Rally. (North West Newspix)Following the funeral mass, Manus’ coffin was carried through a rally finish line arch before the funeral cortege pressed onwards towards Conwal Graveyard.Many more attended the burial, which was marked with poignant scenes as Manus’ eldest sons Mandy and Charlie wore the Donegal Rally garlands in a special tribute to their dad as he was led to his final resting place. His final stage.RIP Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly: A hero is laid to rest was last modified: June 28th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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