Tubridy in the driving seat for charity fundraiser

RTÉ star Ryan Tubridy last night joined forces with Olympic, GAA, and rugby stars as part of a charity drive to honour motorbike champion Sean Hurley.

The Late Late Show presenter turned MC for the night to quiz the sporting heroes and members of the public as part of a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire-style event in Cork’s Rearden’s bar.

In the process they paid tribute to Sean, one of the 185 people who died on Irish roads last year, and helped raise thousands of euro in his name for the Tallaght Hospital-based Centre for Cardiac Risk in Younger Persons.

The charity event — attended by Olympic stars Rob and Marian Heffernan, Munster and Ireland rugby legend Ronan O’Gara and Cork GAA’s Donal Óg Cusack — was part of a nationwide fundraiser to honour the 25-year-old.

The only brother of RTÉ sports presenter Jacqui Hurley, Sean, from Ballinhassig in Co Cork, died after a crash near his home on Nov 30 last year.

Since then, Jacqui and her family have been completing a “bucket list” of goals her brother wrote — drawn up days before the fatal accident.

As one of Sean’s dreams was to become a millionaire, Jacqui decided to set up last night’s recession-lowered Who Wants To Be A Thousand-aire event.

With Sean’s motorbike beside him on the stage, Tubridy told onlookers that “while it’s an emotional night, in the spirit of why we’re here, let’s make it a fun night”.

While fun may have been on the cards for some, there was embarrassment in store for the likes of Cork-based race walker Rob Heffernan, whose lack of political knowledge let him down.

Failing to identify who topped the Cork South Central 2011 general election poll (Micheál Martin), Heffernan fell at the €50 mark.

The evening ended on better terms for other eventgoers, with audience members winning VIP tickets to next month’s Ireland v Argentina rugby international; a signed photo of European Ryder Cup captain José Maria Olazábal; and an Ireland football jersey signed by the Euro 2012 squad, among other prizes.

The charity night is also thought to have raised thousands of euro in Sean’s name.

After the event, Jacqui said: “Nights like this help us through the dark days.”

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