Europe

Donegal: Hundreds at rally driver Manus Kelly's funeral

The car driven by Manus Kelly in his Donegal Rally victory led the funeral procession
Image caption The car driven by Manus Kelly in his last Donegal Rally victory led the funeral procession in Glenswilly

Hundreds of mourners have gathered at St Columba's Church in Glenswilly, County Donegal, for the funeral of rally driver Manus Kelly.

The married father of five was killed in a crash on the final day of the Donegal International Rally on Sunday.

His coffin was led into the church by the rally car driven by Mr Kelly when he last won the competition in 2018.

Father Paddy Dunne said his death had come as a "dreadful shock" to everyone in Donegal.

Mr Kelly, 41, was a three-time winner of the rally, a businessman and a newly-elected Fianna Fáil councillor.

Image caption Mr Kelly will be buried in Conwal cemetary in Letterkenny

In his homily, Father Dunne said he was moved by the people who "lined the streets and ditches" to honour Mr Kelly as his remains were brought back to Glenswilly.

"It was something he would have been so proud of himself," Father Dunne said.

"I know he would have been thinking 'there's some votes there boy.'"

He also praised the thousands of people who queued for hours to attend Mr Kelly's wake at his home.

"I don't think many of us realise how much he touched people's hearts."

"Manus was a legend in the rally world but I know for the family, he was your legend as well."

Image caption The hearse which carried the remains of Manus Kelly, known as 'Mandy', arriving at St Columba's Church, Glenswilly

The funeral mass was attended by family, friends and dignitaries including Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Mr Kelly's co-driver, Donall Barrett, who was injured in the crash that killed his friend, was also in attendance.

The service was shown on large screens outside the church and at the grounds of Glenswilly GAA club where Mr Kelly was a member.

The Donegal International Rally is a three-day international event and attracts the sport's big names and up to 70,000 spectators every year.

The final stages of the rally were cancelled following the crash.