Tragic rally champion Manus Kelly ‘touched hearts of so many’

The remains of the late rally driver Manus "Mandy" Kelly are carried his resting place in Conwal graveyard in Donegal as his sons wear garlands from his wins in the Donegal International Rally. Press Association picture
The remains of the late rally driver Manus "Mandy" Kelly are carried his resting place in Conwal graveyard in Donegal as his sons wear garlands from his wins in the Donegal International Rally. Press Association picture
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Hundreds of mourners who attended the funeral of rally driver Manus Kelly have heard that the death of the father-of-five has been a “dreadful shock”.

The world of rallying joined family and friends of the champion at his funeral in Glenswilly, Co Donegal on Thursday.

The 41-year-old was killed in a crash in the Donegal International Rally on Sunday.

Hundreds of people who travelled from across Ireland spilled outside the grounds of St Columba’s Church to watch the funeral on three big screens.

The funeral cortege was led by two garda motorbikes and the rally car in which Kelly won the Donegal International Rally.

His son Charlie travelled in the passenger seat of the car.

Four guards of honour lined the route in and out of the church, made up of members from the local GAA clubs, pupils from a local primary school, fellow rally drivers and council workers.

The newly elected Fianna Fail councillor is survived by wife Bernie and their children Annie, Mandy, Charlie, Conan and baby Bella.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin was among the mourners as well as Education Minister Joe McHugh.

The taoiseach was represented by his aide-de-camp Commandant Caroline Burke.

Father Paddy Dunne told mourners: “His death has been a dreadful shock to all of us.

“He did a lot for a boy of 41, he lived some life, he didn’t sit a minute.

“I don’t think he realised how he touched people’s hearts.”

He said Kelly had recently embarked on his career in local politics, adding that he will be sorely missed by his family and friends.

Mr Martin previously described Kelly’s racing talent as “limitless”, adding that he was widely respected and loved by all of the rally community in Ireland.