GAA club pays tribute to 'true gael' after Irishman dies in Australia collision

GAA club pays tribute to 'true gael' after Irishman dies in Australia collision

TRIBUTES have been paid to an Irishman who died following a collision in Australia on Monday.

Ryan Straney, 27, died in the four-vehicle collision at around 4.40am on the Pacific Motorway near Wahroonga, around 20km north of Sydney.

New South Wales Police believe a vehicle travelling southbound collided with three vehicles travelling northbound.

They added that a 96-year-old man was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital for mandatory testing and minor injuries.

A 35-year-old truck driver was taken to Hornsby Hospital for mandatory testing, while a male driver, 39, was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital for minor injuries and mandatory testing.

'An absolute gentleman'

Following news of Mr Straney's passing, his former GAA club in Belfast paid tribute to their 'esteemed former player and member'.

"Ryan was an absolute gentleman and a true gael," read a statement from Lámh Dhearg CLG.

"He was a very popular member and player among his peers and teammates.

"Coaches always found Ryan a pleasure to coach and manage as he was honest, always smiling and willing to learn and improve.

"Ryan was very intelligent, unassuming and always had time for you.

"He was a very considerate, caring and pleasant young man."

It added: "The best way to honour Ryan is to remember the many good times when his company enriched our lives with his affable personality."

Lámh Chearg added that Mr Straney, who was from the Upper Springfield Road area of West Belfast, had been with the club since he was a boy.

A successful dual player, he represented Antrim in development squads and at minor level before a series of injuries curtailed his playing career.

However, he would go on to coach Lámh Dhearg's senior hurlers and underage football teams.

The Antrim County Board also offered their sympathies to Mr Straney's loved ones.

"We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Lámh Dhearg CLG and the entire community on the shock passing of Ryan Straney," read a statement from Antrim GAA.

"Ryan was a member of their Senior Football team and has been in Australia.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends at this deeply sad time."

Candlelit vigil

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MP John Finucane, a former Lámh Dhearg captain, described Mr Straney's death as 'heartbreaking'.

"Only 27, he was a hugely talented footballer & hurler, & I consider myself lucky to have been a teammate of his," he posted on Facebook.

"His family, friends & all of us at Lámh Dhearg CLG are numb & will do all we can to help support his family & each other.

"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam."

Mr Straney's family and Lámh Dhearg are to hold a candlelit vigil in his memory at 8pm this Saturday, April 20 in Heritage Square.

Funeral details will be announced at a later date.

New South Wales Police have said that an investigation is underway into the circumstances surrounding the collision.