The woman killed in a motorway collision on Monday, just a day after giving birth to her daughter, was a granddaughter of the late Paddy Kenny, a member of Tipperary’s three-in-a-row All-Ireland-winning team in 1949-1951.
Nicola Kenny, 26, from Thurles, had been celebrating the happiest day of her life when the car in which she was a back-seat passenger was struck in the rear by a truck.
The car was being driven by an aunt who had pulled into the hard shoulder of the M8 Dublin-Cork motorway to allow Nicola take a call about her newborn daughter.
Nicola, her mother Ann, and her aunt Irene were on their way from South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel to Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin where Lily Rose had been moved as a precaution when she developed a temperature following her birth on Sunday.
The phone call Nicola received just moments before the fatal collision was from Temple Street, to inform her Lily Rose was well enough to go back to Clonmel.
“It was just a terrible series of events and in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said a relative.
The crash happened between junctions 9 and 10, between the Cashel and Cahir exits, at about 12.30pm.
Nicola lived at Kennedy Park in Thurles, within sight of Semple Stadium where celebrations took place on Monday night following the return home of the All- Ireland hurling champions.
“It was only late last night that the word went around about who it was. The whole town is in shock now. Everybody went from a huge high to a huge low,” said the relative.
Tipperary’s captain, Brendan Maher, is from Borrisoleigh, where the Kenny family are known for their sporting and community connections, as well as in Thurles. While Nicola’s grandfather, Paddy Kenny, had been on the great three-in-a row team, her grand-uncle, the late Sean Kenny, captained the side in 1950 match. Her father is also Paddy, as is her brother.
Nicola’s mother Ann suffered a broken arm and shoulder in the crash but was yesterday discharged from the hospital.
Ann’s sister Lily, who was driving the car, suffered more serious injuries and is being treated at the intensive care unit at University Hospital Limerick. “We’re not fully aware of the extent of her injuries yet.”
The family and community are “shocked and devastated” by what happened, the relative said.
Nicola worked in Tesco in Thurles and was a past pupil of Ursuline Convent secondary school.
Daugter Lily Rose is said to be “doing fine” in Clonmel hospital.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved