Thursday 27 October 2016

Injured GAA star 'devastated' by road crash tragedy

The scene of the crash at the N17 outside Tuam, Co Galway
The scene of the crash at the N17 outside Tuam, Co Galway
Shane Walsh

Galway football star Shane Walsh has been left "devastated" by a car crash which left a father of seven dead and the footballer injured.

Popular taxi driver Mike Ward (55) died at the scene of the two-car collision at Cloonmore, outside Tuam, on the N17 Galway-Sligo Road in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A 20-year-old passenger in Mr Ward's taxi was also injured in the 2.20am crash.

The funeral of the popular Co Galway taxi driver - who died in the early hours of Saturday morning - will take place tomorrow.

Mr Ward, who was from Lissadyra, Tuam, is survived by his wife Mary, five sons David, Michael, Owen, Martin and Laurence and two daughters, Margaret and Bridget.

The dead man was well-known throughout Galway as an amateur boxing coach and was "absolutely adored" by his family, said neighbours yesterday. "He was the backbone of the family," said his nephew Michael Sweeney.


Footballer Walsh's injuries will be assessed again by medical staff at University College Hospital, Galway, today, said a GAA spokesman.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased man," said the spokesman for the Galway County Board.

"It's a tragedy. Galway footballer Shane Walsh received injuries in the crash. We won't know the full extent of his injuries until Monday."

The Galway forward, an U-21 All-Ireland winner with his county in 2013, suffered hand injuries in the crash and is expected to be out of football for several weeks.

He has already been ruled out of the Connacht Championship clash with Mayo next weekend.

However, friends say football is the last thing on the mind of the 22-year-old.

"He has been left absolutely devastated," said one friend. "All his thoughts are with Mr Ward's family at this awful time."

The Kilkerrin-Clonberne clubman had been at a challenge game with Galway against Cork in Gort earlier on Friday evening.

Mr Ward was a popular figure on the taxi rank at Shop Street in Tuam. He had been working a particularly busy Friday night/Saturday morning shift when the crash happened.

He was described as "extremely popular" by fellow taxi drivers there.

His passenger's injuries were described yesterday as non life-threatening.

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to the collision or anyone who travelled the N17 at Cloonmore Bridge between 2am and 2.30am on June 6 to contact them at Tuam Garda Station on 093 70840, The Garda Confidential Line, 1800 666111 or any Garda Station.

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