Marty Strain was happy-go-lucky, a good son, devoted boyfriend and far too young to die, mourners at his funeral have heard.
The 19-year-old, from Gortcormican in Burnfoot, was tragically killed in a single vehicle road traffic collision at Tooban in the early hours of Sunday, August 23rd.
St Mura’s Church in Fahan was overflowing with mourners and tears as they said a final farewell to the young man, the son of Hugh and Elaine Strain and brother to Stephen.
Fahan Parish Priest Fr Neil McGoldrick said the death of Martin (Marty) was every parent’s “worst dread,” which came with “no warning” and “no time to prepare.”
He added that alongside the sadness of the teenager’s death there was also the loss of his future, “his hopes and dreams” and his family’s dreams for him.
Fr McGoldrick also appealed to the young people present, asking them to think of how precious they are to their parents and families.
There is the loss of companionship to his friends, the loss of his good humour, his own particular ways, his smile.”Fr Neil McGoldrick, Parish Priest Fahan
He asked: “Is the thrill of the chase worth all these lives? Is the challenge of a dare worth heartbreak such as Hugh and Elaine’s and other parents? Is kneeling to peer pressure to join in a road game worth the lives of innocent people who are no part of that game? Surely it is time to stop.”
Prayers were also said at the Mass for the other two young people involved in the collision, Evan and Martin’s girlfriend Kayleigh.
A reflection from three of his friends told how Marty “thought the world” of her and that he was a “true gentleman” and a “real loyal friend.”
Fr McGoldrick, who celebrated the Mass with Fr John Farren, PP Iskaheen and Fr Francis Bradley, PP Buncrana, said that through Marty’s death there was “the loss of companionship to his friends, the loss of his good humour, his own particular ways, his smile.”
Mourners heard how, at a young age, Marty became interested in hurling and played with the Burt Minors team, who formed a guard of honour as his coffin was carried into the church.
They were told that at 16, his attentions turned to cars and girls and he met Kayleigh at Crana College. They were friends first and became a couple, going to their school formal together, which Marty attended in a tractor.
“His heart was in cars,” told Fr McGoldrick.
“His facebook page was full of photos of cars. Hugh said Martin would have had holes in his shoes and wouldn’t spend money on them, instead putting that money into his car.”
He also enjoyed days out in his quad and was happy working, spending some time in England before working with his father as a joiner.
Mourners were told how Marty, “at heart a home bird” was to undertake a test for his dump truck licence next week and had plans to work in England or the USA, none of which was to be.
“He was a good son, happy-go-lucky; he didn’t worry about things,” said Fr McGoldrick.
He was also described as someone who would “do anything for his friends” and Fr McGoldrick remarked how many gathered at the Halfway House in Tooban in “solidarity” with him as his remains were being removed from Murphy’s Funeral Home.
Addressing the many young people in attendance, Fr McGoldrick said: “If Marty could speak to you young people now, after what has happened to him, what might he say?”
He said that just weeks apart and within a short distance, Marty and another young man, John Hegarty had died in similar circumstances.
He said: “If you could have seen both sets of parents standing utterly helpless and heartbroken at those two crash sites. If you would allow the sight of that horror to sink deep into your hearts, surely you would do everything in your power not to put your parents, your family, your friends through this horrible and mind-numbing experience.”
Fr McGoldrick said Marty Strain’s legacy could “be that you would stop and question the culture of speed that dominates all too many of your generation.”
He added: “It’s time to remember that for all the aura around the car it is also and always a lethal weapon, as was so clear in the awfulness of Sunday morning in the lane in Tooban.”
Prayers were also said at the Mass for the emergency services, Gardai, the undertaker and clergy who attended the scene.
As the teenager’s coffin was carried from the church, the song ‘See You Again’ played, which had the lyrics: ‘It’s been a long day without you my friend and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”