Sport

Sunday 15 September 2019

World handball star Conall McCavitt critically ill after hit-and-run

Conall McCavitt is fighting for his life
Conall McCavitt is fighting for his life

Brett Campbell

A world handball star aged in his 20s is fighting for his life in a Northern Ireland hospital following a hit-and-run in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh.

Conall McCavitt was struck by a car on Cardinal O'Fiaich Square in the centre of the Co Armagh town shortly before 6.20am.

He was taken to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment for injuries that were described as serious.

Conall is part of the Eugene Quinn club in Armagh.

The vehicle did not stop, but police confirmed that a blue coloured Volkswagen Passat believed to have been involved in the incident had been recovered from the market area of the town.

The scene of the incident was subsequently closed and motorists were advised to seek alternative routes while police conducted an investigation into the incident. It only re-opened yesterday afternoon.

Slieve Gullion councillor Pete Byrne expressed his sympathy to the hit-and-run victim and his family.

"First of all, my thoughts are with the young fellow and his family, and I really hope he pulls through," he said.

The SDLP councillor told the Belfast Telegraph the area was an accident waiting to happen.

He said the square, which has numerous roads leading onto it, had been a major problem for the town.

"The speed that people drive around the square has been and continues to be a problem," he explained. "People drive like it's a race track at times.

"It was only a matter of time before something like this happened."

Mr Byrne said that councillors had met with police on numerous occasions about cars "rallying round the town" and to discuss the absence of officers at night-time.

"We raised the issue time and time again," councillor Byrne said.

"At night-time, this square can be a free-for-all because there is no police presence. It's a small rural town and the police station is not manned at night.

"It takes the police an hour or an hour-and-a-half to come. It's a nightmare."

"The speed at which people drive around the square, which has pubs and a hotel beside it, means that an accident was inevitable. The police say they are doing their best but they are stretched."

The PSNI is appealing for anyone who witnessed the hit-and-run to contact officers in Newry on 101, quoting reference number 488 of 27/12/16.

Belfast Telegraph

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