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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Tributes paid to jockey (21) killed in crash with bus

Jockey John O’Connor died in the collision on Saturday. Photo: Provision
Jockey John O’Connor died in the collision on Saturday. Photo: Provision

Ralph Riegel

Tributes have been paid to a talented young jockey who died in a horrific road collision.

John O'Connor (21) died when the car he was driving collided head-on with a coach on the Mallow-Killarney road on Saturday evening.

The collision, which occurred shortly before 6.30pm, resulted in the entire road being closed.

The vehicles collided some 4km outside Mallow, not far from the Cork Racecourse site.

While the circumstances of the collision remain unclear, it is understood weather conditions were difficult at the time.

Mr O'Connor, the driver and sole occupant of the car, suffered multiple injuries in the collision and died before he could be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

He was from Lismire, outside Newmarket, in Co Cork.

He was rated as one of the most talented young jockeys in Ireland and was tipped as a future point-to-point champion.

He worked with the Irish Horse Racing Academy and was one of the top young jockeys on the Irish circuit.

Multiple tributes were paid to him last night by horse owners, racing fans and fellow jockeys deeply shocked by the news of his untimely death.

Charles O'Connor said the world of Irish horse racing was in mourning.

"What a tragedy. [I was] at Dromahane watching horses being schooled and galloping at 2pm. Disaster within hours. My deepest sympathies to his parents Mary and James, and brother Barry."

Mr O'Connor is also survived by his sister.

Tom Busteed said Mr O'Connor had enormous talent.

"Very sorry to hear this news, he had ridden some breakers for me in the past, and did it with confidence, and no fear. My condolences to his family and friends," he posted.

Four people were on the coach involved in the collision, including the driver. All managed to escape serious injuries.

Mallow gardaí have now appealed for anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact them to assist their investigation.

Meanwhile, gardaí in Cavan are investigating a road traffic collision in which a young man in his 20s was killed.

The male driver was the only occupant when the car he was driving collided with fencing on the roadside at around 5.30pm yesterday at Lower Lavey, Co Cavan on the N3.

Irish Independent

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