Teen Pays Ultimate Price in Attempt To Save Best Friend from Drowning


Jack Kenneally and Shay Moloney, both 15, had been best friends since childhood. The teens were rugby players, described as the stars of their team, leaders on and off the playing field.

Jack and Shay went swimming with a group of friends after their last day of school. According to the Irish Independent, Jack had jumped into the lake and was swimming to a small island when he started drowning.

In an attempt to save his best friend’s life, Shay jumped in after Jake and swam to his aid. But both boys were overcome with exhaustion, and succumbed to the quarry waters.

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The community in Ennis, Ireland, was left shocked and heartbroken that two vibrant lives were suddenly gone. Within days, community members attended two separate funerals for the beloved boys, trying to grapple with the achingly difficult loss.

Rugby teams from around the country expressed condolences for the teens, wishing the boys’ families their sincerest sympathies.

Droves of teenagers and community members attended the funerals of both boys, clinging to one another, weeping with sorrow.

Shay’s uncle, Louie Maloney, gave a moving tribute to his beloved nephew who paid the ultimate price on behalf of his best friend.

“Shay crammed more into his 15 years than most do in a lifetime,” Maloney said. “Shay was a character in every sense of the word with a bubbly personality and a cheeky grin for everyone.”

“Shay’s personality had that x-factor where everyone left him feeling special due to his rogueish and outgoing personality,” Maloney continued. “We were so proud of Shay and the person he had become.”

In the wake of the tragedy, town officials are pushing to do something about the lake, described by locals as a “death trap.”

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The lake often takes swimmers by surprise with its sheer depth and cold waters, and Shay and Jack are not the first to drown in it.

“Whether we drain it or fill it up, we have to act now,” Ennis Councillor Mary Howard said. “This tragedy isn’t going to stop teenagers from swimming in that quarry at all.”

One of Jack’s three sisters, Katie, expressed a slice of comfort found in knowing her brother left this life with his best friend. “RIP Jack and Shay — at least ye are together.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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