Three cyclists on road to recovery after crash

Gordon Flannery, one of the cyclists.
Gordon Flannery, one of the cyclists.

Donal Nolan

THREE cyclists who were injured in a collision with a car near Lisselton on Thursday are on the road to recovery. It was a frantic few days for the family and friends of one cyclist who was rushed to hospital in Dublin for an operation.

Paul Hayes, Kieran Kennelly and Con Flynn - members of the popular Kerry Crusaders charity fitness club - were cycling together on the main Ballybunion to Lisselton Road when the accident occured around 8.30pm on Thursday. The three were involved in a collision with a car driven by a local man at a time when the sun was blindingly low on the horizon.

A fourth member of the cycling party, who was travelling behind his three friends escaped the horrifying impact.

All three were rushed to hospital in Tralee where doctors assessed their injuries, before transferring Paul Hayes to hospital in Dublin amid serious fears for an injury he sustained to his spine. Ballylongford native Mr Hayes underwent what was described as a successful operation on his neck over the weekend and was released back to Kerry General Hospital where he is now recovering.

Con Flynn, also from Ballylongford, sustained dislocated fingers as well as damage and bruising to his hips. Kieran Kennelly, from Ballybunion, was released from hospital over the weekend after he was treated for a fractured shoulder blade.

Mr Kennelly told The Kerryman he could not remember the impact, but was simply relieved his friends and he are now on the road to recovery.

The three men received a flood of messages of support from their fellow Kerry Crusaders following the accident. For the group's founder, Gordon Flannery, news of the crash brought back painful memories as he had established the Crusaders in memory of his brother, Howard, who was killed while cycling for charity in Clare many years ago.

Mr Flannery said he was deeply relieved and delighted to learn of the trio's recovery.

"I'm delighted that everyone is okay but the accident does come as a reminder of what can happen when we're out cycling and running on the roads. I started the Crusaders in memory of my brother, Howard, who was killed in a crash while he was cycling, so news of the accident did resonate with me on that level. Thankfully they came through it and all of us in the Crusaders are deeply relieved," he said.

Mr Flannery asked people not to jump to any conclusions as to the cause of the accident. "Until the facts are established we simply don't know what happened but it would appear the sun was a major factor at the time."

Gardaí in north Kerry are continuing to investigate the accident.


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