Funeral of Irish ranger killed in training accident
A RANGER, due to celebrate his 22nd birthday today, was laid to rest with military honours in Cork yesterday after he was killed accidentally in a training exercise in the UK.
Ranger Michael Maguire was fondly remembered as a gentle giant and a deeply professional soldier at requiem Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Coomhola, near Bantry.
A poppy wreath rested on his coffin which was draped in the colours of the Royal Irish Regiment, together with his caubeen and belt. A sliotar, hurley and his U-14 Cork county football championship medal were offered as gifts representing his love of sport.
The youngest of four children, Ranger Maguire had been a member of the army reserve before he joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment in Enniskillen in May 2010. He was sent to serve in Afghanistan four months later and was in training to return when he was killed during a live firing exercise on May 2nd.
Chief celebrant Fr Donal Cotter told how the news of the accident filtered through, devastating the local community, who lost “one of its best”. Family friend Teddy O’Brien used to drive the ranger to training at St Colums GAA club. He said Ranger Maguire was kind, generous and always thoughtful of his mother Maureen, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
“The Maguire family has lost a most wonderful son and brother who they can be very proud of. Our community has lost one of its best young people.
As his commanding officer said of him, “he was a deeply professional and likable young man”, said Mr O’Brien.
Anglican army chaplain Rev Andrew J Earl told how Ranger Maguire quickly made his mark on the battalion, where he was known as “a bit of a rogue”. “He clearly made an impression on all he met. He was a great character in the truest sense, who lived life to the full,” Rev Earl said.
Ranger Maguire’s company commander, Maj Richard Bell and his commanding officer Lieut Col Colin Weir were among the mourners who travelled from the UK. Representing the Army were Lieut Col Pat Moore representing the GOC 1st Southern Brigade and Comdt Jim Murphy of the 34th battalion. A bugler and piper sounded at the graveside at Kilmacomogue Cemetery in Kealkill, where the Royal Irish Regiment formed a guard of honour as the coffin was lowered into the grave and Ranger Maguire’s personal items were ceremoniously handed back to his father, Michael.