GAA mourns as referee and handball ace die in crashes
Published 28/01/2014 | 02:30
The GAA is united in mourning the loss of two Gaelic games stalwarts who lost their lives in separate road crashes.
Well-known GAA referee Shane Hourigan was killed in a head-on collision in Co Limerick. The married father-of-one was from Rathkeale.
Meanwhile, the family of All-Ireland minor handball champion Barry Nash, killed in a "freak" road accident, have paid special tribute to a "wonderful son who had everything to live for".
Three people lost their lives in a tragic 24-hour period on Irish roads, as a cyclist was also killed in a collision with a car at Citywest, Dublin yesterday.
The cyclist, in his late 30s, was fatally injured after he was thrown from his bicycle on a roundabout near exit 3 on the M7 at about 5.20pm. It was unclear if the death arose from a hit and run.
Gardai are also investigating the possibility that the driver of the vehicle was unaware he had collided with the cyclist.
Second-year UCD student Mr Nash was travelling from his home in Scarriff, Co Clare, to Dublin when tragedy struck.
The 18-year-old was driving on the M7 at about 9pm on Sunday when he had a "wobble" and lost control of the vehicle.
"Barry travelled back to UCD with his friends every Sunday, but that night the inclement weather took him from us," his father Jim told the Irish Independent.
"He was behind the wheel and had a full driving licence, but sleet and wind caused him to have a wobble on the road.
"It was a freak accident and there was very minimal impact. The car veered off the road and a piece of timber from a railing shot up through the engine and hit Barry in the driver's seat.
"There was no speed involved and his friends were not seriously injured."
He had played in the Clare development squad at under 14, 15 and 16 level, and played for UCD. He is survived by siblings Diarmaid (23), Cathal (25), Dervla (20), Clodagh (15) and mother Mary. His funeral Mass will take place this Thursday at the Sacred Heart Church in Scarriff.
Elsewhere, GAA referee Mr Hourigan died in a two-car collision shortly after 7am yesterday. The crash happened on the N21, three miles west of Rathkeale, at Reens Pike in Ardagh.
The 44-year-old was a member of St Mary's Sean Finns, Rathkeale Club and a member of the National Hurling Referees' panel for three years.
Shane's sister, Karen Fahy, said "his ultimate ambition was to referee an All-Ireland final in Croke Park".
Gardai said driving conditions were "blustery, wet and dark" at the time of the crash.
"His wife lost her son a couple of years ago in a motorcycle accident," added Gerry Molyneaux, a close friend of more than 30 years.
Munster GAA paid tribute to the two men who died.