Tragedy strikes Derry City FC legend

Paul Hegarty.
Paul Hegarty.

Senior footballing figures in the city have told of their shock and expressed their sympathies to former Derry City stalwart Paul Hegarty, following the tragic death of his brother and another man as a result of an accident in Donegal on Friday night.

52-year-old Seamus Hegarty and fellow farmer, Kevin Wood, were working on the wheel of a vehicle at Killygordan when the accident occured. It is understood that they were repairing a puncture when a steel rim blew off the wheel, struck both men and fatally injured them.

Paul Hegarty is very well known to the footballing fraternity in the North West having been both a legendary player and part of the management set up at Derry City Football Club for many years. He also has strong assocations with Institute FC as well as having a stint as manager with Finn Harps.

Former Derry City captain and manager Tony O’Doherty reacted with shock to the news. Speaking to the Journal yesterday he said: “My immediate thoughts are with Seamus’ family at this tragic time. My thoughts are also of course with Paul whom we all of course know and respect.

“I am utterly shocked by this. We have all heard of recent tragedies within the farming community in relation to accidents involving slurry pits but this is something that you do not expect to hear these days. Again, and on behalf of Derry City I wish to extend the club’s deepest sympathies to the entire Hegarty family.”

An investigation into the deaths of both Mr Hegarty and Mr Wood has now begun. The accident occured at around 6pm on Friday evening.

The accident took place at Cross Roads, Killygordan, between Stranorlar and Castlefin. The men were neighbours in the Raphoe area and had been working at harvseting potatoes at the time.

Derry City FC director Sean Barrett told the Journal: “This is devasating news for Paul and the entire Hegarty family. My thoughts are with them all at this time.

“Paul Hegarty has been a long serving and hard working servant to Derry City Football Club and indeed to football in general. On behalf of both myself and the club I extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Hegarty family at this tragic time.”

Liam Doherty, a Sinn Fein councillor for the area, said: “It is believed the steel ring has come off the wheel, it blew out on them.

“The local community is in deep shock over this tragedy, our deepest sympathy goes out to the two families.”

Independent councillor Frank McBrearty Jnr, who knew both men well, said: “My thoughts and prayers go out to both the families - they’re very well known in the local community and very well known in the farming community.

“It’s a devastating blow to the community, but even more devastating to both families and I think the families at this time need to be given some space to be able to deal with the grief they’re going through.

“This community over the last number of months has suffered a number of tragedies and this is another very bad tragedy leading up to Christmas.”