Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire accident: Rally drivers died in a crash during Sligo rally


Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire accident
Irish Rallying in mourning after the death of two competitors at Sligo Stages Rally. (Facebook)


Two men died in a Sligo rally crash, and the community is in shock, according to the tributes offered. Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire, two highly regarded drivers and great motorsport persons died.

We extend our sincere sympathies to the family & friends of Gene McDonald, Cootehill, and his co-driver Daire Maguire of Lisnaskea on their tragic deaths in the Sligo Rally yesterday.

Both victims’ death has profoundly impacted their loved ones, friends, and the larger community. Losing a loved one in such a sad and unexpected manner is a huge shock that affects everyone concerned. Here’s what we know about the Sligo rally crash and Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire’s death.

Two rally drivers killed in Sligo crash 

On Sunday during an Irish rally, a driver and co-driver perished in a collision. Locally, they are known as Daire Maguire and Gene McDonald. Mr. McDonald was from County Cavan, and Mr. Maguire was from County Fermanagh.

The sport’s governing body, Motorsport Ireland, has called their deaths “devastating” because they were highly skilled racers. At around 15:30 local time on Sunday, the car they were racing crashed into a wall in Ballymote.

Motorsport Ireland Statement issued at 10.30 on July 17th, 2023 confirming the names of the competitors who tragically lost their lives in an accident on yesterday’s Sligo Stages Rally.

Midland Motorclub posted,

We wish to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire at this very difficult time. Our thoughts are also with all those who responded to the accident. A dark day for our motorsport family. May they both Rest In Peace.

May be an image of ticket stub and text that says "Motorsport Ireland M Ireland 0793 Motorsport Ireland Statement July 17th 10:30 Motorsport deeply saddened confirm Gene McDonald, aged competitors fatal accident which occurred yesterday's Sligo Stages Rally which organised Connacht Motor Club. the As the governing body for four-wheeled motorsport in Ireland, Motorsport together with Garda siochána, have begun full investigation into accident. The thoughts of everyone Motorsport Ireland and within the wider motorsport community continue with McDonald and Maguire and friends, the organisers the and other members the community were present the scene. Dé raibh ENDS n-anamacha. Press Officer: Art McCarrick Contact No.: +353 8301955 395523 RIAC"

What happened to Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire?

Daire Maguire from County Fermanagh and Gene McDonald from County Cavan were the two competitors who perished in the crash that occurred during a County Sligo rally.

The Ford Escort they were riding in lost control and crashed during a stage of the Sligo Stages Rally, killing Gene McDonald from Co Cavan and Daire Maguire from Co Fermanagh, according to reports.

Nobody else was hurt, and there was only one car involved. Also, it is believed that Mr. McDonald was operating the vehicle at the time of the collision.

Following the collision in Carrigans Lower, not far from Ballymote, both men passed away there. The Connacht Motor Club, which was hosting the rally, quickly called off the event as emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

Both the driver and the co-driver passed away on the spot, and their bodies were taken to Sligo University Hospital to be examined after death. Garda (Irish police) and Motorsport Ireland are conducting separate inquiries into the collision.

Along with the Garda probe, the sport’s governing body, Motorsport Ireland, announced that it would conduct a thorough examination into the two tragedies.

Also, they are requesting that any photographs or videos of the event be taken off from social media and sent to them, and have asked people to stop sharing any such content on messaging apps.

About the drivers: Gene McDonald

Gene McDonald was a car enthusiast who passed away yesterday after an accident during the Sligo rally.  One of the participants who perished in the Sligo Stages Rally incident yesterday (Sunday) afternoon has been identified as a Cavan man.

The popular mechanic’s passing has shocked the residents of Cootehill and the surrounding area of Cavan. As Gene McDonald’s family started to process the tragedy, his garage in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, was closed today. Friends say they are shocked by the father-of-one’s passing and have left flowers at the door in his remembrance.

Two competitors killed in horror crash at Irish rally - Irish Star
Gene McDonald (35) from Cootehill in Co Cavan. (source: Facebook)


The town is in disbelief. He was a friend and a client, and over the years, he had grown his business, according to Sean Kelly of Farney Auto Factors in Carrickmacross. “One of his interests was rallying. He was a great friend and a young man, ” he said.

Gene is a well-known and highly regarded member of the community and his untimely death will be keenly felt by his family, friends, and colleagues. 

Daire Maguire

Daire Maguire, a contender from Fermanagh, was among those killed in the collision. Following the collision in Carrigans Lower, close to Ballymote, Mr. Maguire, who was from Lisnaskea in County Fermanagh, passed away there and then.

Mr. Maguire was employed by the CADCO bathroom store in Lisnaskea, which reported that his abrupt passing had affected both his coworkers and the larger town.

We announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Dare Maguire, with the utmost sadness and regret, according to a workplace post.

Daare, unfortunately, passed away on Sunday while competing in the Sligo Rally. Daare was one of life’s true gentlemen, a staff member who was greatly respected by both clients and coworkers, and he will be sorely missed.

We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Dare’s wife, our coworker Breda, his daughters Megan and Christopher, as well as his extended family and friends, on behalf of the whole Cadco team during this trying time.

Daire Maguire from Co Fermanagh
Daire Maguire from Co Fermanagh died alongside Gene McDonald from Co Cavan after the crash in Sligo on Sunday. Source: CADCO NI LTD.


Both Gene and Daire were highly regarded in the sport, and their friendly manner knew no bounds, the motorsport family will gather to support all those involved and affected by this tragedy. 


Art McCarrick, from Motorsport Ireland, expressed condolences on behalf of the organization.

“It certainly is a devastating day for our sport but nowhere near as devastating a day as it must be for the friends and family of the deceased,” he said.

He also said his thoughts were with the people who assisted at the scene of a “very difficult accident” and with the organizers of the event.

“Just before 3 pm the car left the road – we’re unsure yet as to the reasons why and that will form part of our investigations,” Mr McCarrick said.

He added that a previous stage of the rally had taken place on Sunday morning “without incident”. Both men were very popular figures within the Rally community, With an outpouring of tributes paid to both Gene & Daire. Our thoughts again go out to their families, Friends, and the communities affected by this tragic accident.

Mr. McCarrick is the sporting manager for Motorsport Ireland, a position that entails approving event rules and providing race licenses.

Counseling sessions for people affected are one of the protocols for handling a significant occurrence, and Mr. McCarrick promised that all applicable measures would be implemented.

Fermanagh motor racer Garry Jennings said,

It was a “very tough time” for the racing fraternity. “We’re a very close-knit community. “I must say it’s a sad day for our sport.” He said he was confident that Motorsport Ireland would do a very thorough investigation into the cause of the crash.

We should pray for the victim’s family and friends as they navigate this road to recovery together. Please feel free to pay respects to Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire by leaving a note below or by sharing your memories of them.


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