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Sunday 23 April 2017

'Caring, strong-hearted and beautiful' - sister's moving tribute to tragic cyclist Tonya

Cyclists form a guard of honour at the funeral of Tonya McEvoy Picture: Colin Keegan
Cyclists form a guard of honour at the funeral of Tonya McEvoy Picture: Colin Keegan

The driver of the car involved in the crash that resulted in the death of avid Dublin cyclist Tonya McEvoy has been prayed for at her funeral mass.

Tonya (34) was on a Sunday spin with members of the Orwell Wheelers cycling club last weekend when tragedy struck just outside the town of Rathcoffey in Co Kildare.

She was involved in a crash with a car that was travelling in the opposite direction, and pronounced dead at Naas General Hospital.

Loved

At the Our Lady of Good Counsel church in her home parish of Rathfarnham, mourners were told how Tonya was much loved, at home, at work and by her beloved cycling club.

During the prayers of the faithful, Fr Flor O'Callaghan said a prayer for the car driver involved.

Tonya is survived by her father Brian, mother Pat, sister Ciara and brothers Brian and Keith.

Ciara McEvoy spoke lovingly of the woman she said was not only her sister, but also her best friend.

"Tonya was so caring and beautiful and strong-hearted, and would do anything for anyone. We did everything together.

"There was only a year and ten months between us, and when we were growing up Mam would dress us the same, like twins. I think at 17 we told her to stop doing it," Ciara added to warm laughter.

"Tonya was Mam's other half, her pride and joy. She was a wonderful person to everyone and anyone.

"She always did right in life and what happened to her isn't fair. But she died doing what she loved doing, and she had passion in her cycling.

"I used to be jealous because she would go out on Saturdays and Sundays and have a laugh on her spins, and she'd send me Snapchats of her in cafes."

The McEvoy family have a second home in Blackwater, Co Wexford, and Tonya not only cycled for the Orwell Wheelers, but with a group in Blackwater who raised funds for the Crumlin Children's Hospital.

Hectic

"We were reared in Blackwater. It was like a home to us from a young age," said Ciara.

"If Dublin or work got hectic we'd always say just get in the car and drive to Wexford and let it all disappear.

"We'd always go for walks down to the beach in our walking gear and end up in Saucer's pub until half eleven that night. Tonya would be going mad because she had no make-up done. 'Just go with the flow Tonya', I'd say to her," she added.

"It's very hard for all of us. At least the weekend was left on a good note and Tonya was smiling. I don't want everyone to leave here and be crying. I think that we should just look up to the sky and the clouds, and I'm sure Tonya is just cycling by."

Tonya's father Brian thanked the mourners, who filled the church to overflowing.

"It took what happened to Tonya to make me realise there's so many caring, compassionate people left in this world," she said.

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