Gene McDonald, motor enthusiast, who lost his life following an accident in the Sligo rally yesterday.

Cootehill man killed in Sligo Stages Rally

A Cavanman has been named as one of the competitors who died following at crash in the Sligo Stages Rally yesterday afternoon (Sunday).

Gene McDonald (30s) from Cootehill and Daire Maguire (40s) from County Fermanagh died when the Ford Escort they were in went out of control.

The Cootehill and wider Cavan area are in shock as news of the death of the popular mechanic spread over night and this morning.

The collision occurred at Carrowcushcly in Ballymote, Co Sligo at around 3pm.

The rally, organised by the Connacht Motor Club, was immediately halted as emergency services attended the scene.

Both men suffered fatal injuries when their vehicle collided with a wall. Their bodies were removed to Sligo University Hospital where a post-mortem will take place.

A technical examination of the scene was carried out by forensic collision investigators.

Two separate investigations are underway - one by the Gardaí and another by Motorsport Ireland, the sport's governing body.

“Motorsport Ireland extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of two competitors who were fatally injured during a tragic accident while competing on the sixth stage of the 2023 Sligo Stages Rally,” a statement released said.

“Motorsport Ireland also extends its sympathies to the members of Connacht Motor Club and everyone involved with organising today’s event who reacted so quickly and professionally to the incident."

Gardaí meanwhile are appealing for video footage of the accident and are also asking people not to share it on social media channels.

A spokesperson said: "An Garda Síochána is requesting that footage of this collision is not shared across social media or messaging applications. Anyone with video footage is asked to make this available to Gardaí.

Gardaí can be contacted at Sligo Garda Station on 071 915 7000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.