Hundreds of mourners turned out in Dunloy, Co Antrim on Wednesday for the funeral of a 19-year-old woman who lost her life after she was struck by a van at the weekend.
Shannon McQuillan, a second-year law student at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus, died in the incident which occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The collision, which also left her boyfriend, 21-year-old Owen McFerran, in a critical condition in hospital, happened at around 3.40am at a service station on the Moneynick Road near Toome in Co Antrim.
St Joseph’s Church in Dunloy was packed almost to capacity for the funeral, held at 11am on Wednesday morning.
She was carried into the small rural church in a white coffin with a pink floral tribute.
Parish priest Fr Liam Blayney spoke of the shared grief between Shannon McQuillan’s family and the family of her boyfriend, Owen McFerran.
He also described the 19-year-old as a talented, lively and personable young woman.
Speaking to the News Letter, Fr Blayney also praised the support offered by the local parish community.
“Shannon McQuillan, while only 19, may not have reached all the aspirations that she might have had for herself or that indeed her mother and father would have had for her, she was very much loved and cared for,” he said.
“It is the same for the God who made her.
“All the elements of life are present in the life of this young person and in the life of her family.”
He continued: “There is another family who are grieving as well, because her boyfriend also suffered serious injuries and is still in hospital.
“Owen McFerran was from the Rasharkin, Ballymoney area and his family are very much grieving as well.”
He added: “We are very much united with other families who have been in a way part of the accident and part of the very serious aftermath of it.”
Fr Blayney continued: “In the midst grief of the parents and all of the hopes that they will have had for their daughter, there is a very supportive atmosphere of a parish
“Dunloy is such a parish. It is very supportive. They have gathered around and every bit of help they can give, they do.”
He added: “We see the funeral as a great gathering and a way of offering nourishment and hope at a time when we are bereft of hope.”
Shannon McQuillan, a past pupil of Our Lady of Lourdes, Ballymoney, and St Louis Grammar School in Ballymena, was the daughter of Paul and Collette, and loving sister of Paul, Charlene and Kelly.
She was the granddaughter of Margaret and the late John McQuillan, and Sheila and the late Charlie McCullough.
She was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery following the funeral at St Jospeh’s Church.