Leading sportsmen killed in accidents

A teenager and a man in his 40s died in separate road accidents in Limerick and Tipperary in the past 48 hours.

Barry Nash, brother of former Clare hurler and world champion handball player Diarmuid, was the 18-year-old driver of a car that crashed on the M7 near Co Tipperary on Sunday night. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three passengers — two women aged 20 and 19, and another 18-year-old man — were injured and taken to hospital in Portlaoise, but have since been released.

The crash occurred at around 9pm at Junction 22 near Roscrea and a section of the road was closed temporarily for technical examination.

Mr Nash, from Scarriff, Co Clare, himself a minor All-Ireland handball champion, was a member of Tuamgraney Handball Club in Co Clare. His brother Diarmuid is regarded as one of the best handball players in the country and has won world and national titles. He was in Texas at the weekend when the tragedy occurred and had made it to the final of the Houston Pro Stop.

GAA president Liam O’Neill extended his sympathies to the Nash family and to the family of inter-county hurling referee Shane Hourigan, who died in the accident in Co Limerick.

Gardaí believe a sudden hail storm may have caused the fatal road crash. Mr Hourigan, 44, from Rathkeale, died when his VW Passat and another car collided around 6.35am yesterday near Reens Pike on the Rathkeale/Newcastle West N21 road.

The driver of the other car was taken to University Hospital Limerick. Mr Hourigan has one son, Shane, who is in his early 20s. He is also survived by his wife Maria.

He refereed last year’s All Ireland minor hurling semi-final and had officiated at an intercounty Leinster game on Sunday.

Pat O’Sullivan, secretary of the St Mary’s Sean Finn GAA club in Rathkeale said: “We are all devastated at the news of Shane’s tragic death and on behalf of the club wish to extend our deepest sympathy to his family and wide circle of friends. I was with him at our club dinner dance in the Rathkeale House Hotel on Saturday night and he was in great form. Shane was a former secretary of the club and as a referee his career was on an upward curve and he was destined to go right to the top.”

Mr Hourigan’s late father, Jack, was well known in the cattle trade and his uncle is well known horse trainer, Michael Hourigan.

Former Limerick minor hurling manager Timmy O’Connor said the Limerick GAA community was in shock.

Mr Hourigan worked for many years with Golden Vale and had recently set up his own environmental drainage business.

A Garda spokesman said driving conditions were treacherous at the time of the accident due to a hail storm. Witnesses are asked to contact Newcastle West station on 069 20650.

Witnesses to the Tipperary accident are asked to contact Nenagh station on 067 50450.


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