Complex named after late sports star

A SCHOOL honoured its greatest sporting hero yesterday almost two years after he was killed in a car crash.

Colin Hedderman’s parents, Sheila and Paschal, were guests of honour as their son’s former school, Coláiste Choilm in Ballincollig, Co Cork, named its new sports complex Ionad Spóirt Colin Hedderman.

Colin, from Beech Park in Ballincollig, was just 23 when the Toyota Starlet he was driving was in collision with another car near Lissarda on July 10, 2006. He was killed instantly in the impact.

Another young man, who was subsequently charged with dangerous driving, escaped a jail term after a plea from Colin’s parents.

The young man whose driving caused Mr Hedderman’s death received a two-year suspended jail sentence and was banned from driving for 15 years.

Mr Hedderman’s parents, his brother Finbarr and sister Fiona and several cousins stood alongside hurling star Seán Óg Ó hAilpín yesterday as his former school honoured their son’s memory.

Mr Hedderman was the most distinguished sportsman to attend Coláiste Choilm.

In 2001, he became the first recipient of the County Cork VEC Sports Award and in 2002, he won his school’s Sports Hall of Fame Award.

During his time in the school, he won 28 swimming medals at regional, national and international levels.

He represented the school on the Irish swimming team on six occasions and held several Irish and Munster records.

After his Leaving Certificate, he studied mechanical engineering at the University of Limerick (UL). He chose UL in part because it had a 50-metre swimming pool but, a swim coach was not available and his competitive swimming days ended.

But he continued to play water polo — he was on the Irish underage water polo team and progressed to the senior panel.

Mr Hedderman completed his degree course but he died just months before his graduation.

His parents collected his degree parchment at the ceremony in UL just two months after his death.

“Colin’s good humour and sense of fun endeared him to all who knew him,” Coláiste Choilm principal Pat Kinsella said yesterday.

“May the fun he found in sport and the joy he brought to so many be shared by all who use the Colin Hedderman Sports Complex.”

The complex, which boasts an astro-turf pitch and a sports hall, is open every day and is available for hire to the public and local sports groups.

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