Northern Ireland

Lámh Dhearg club man Ryan Straney remembered as ‘an absolute gentleman’

The 27-year-old died in a traffic collision in Australia early on Monday

Ryan Straney, from west Belfast, was killed in a crash in Sydney, Australia, in the early hours of Monday.
Ryan Straney, from west Belfast, was killed in a crash in Sydney, Australia, in the early hours of Monday.

Talented GAA player Ryan Straney, who died in a car accident in Australia, has been described by his Lámh Dhearg club as “an absolute gentleman and a true Gael”.

Mr Straney (27), from the Upper Springfield Road in Belfast, died in Sydney following a collision in the early hours of Monday morning.

The dual footballer and hurler moved to Australia late last year where he was working as a civil engineer.

Ryan Straney playing for his club
Ryan Straney playing for his club

According to reports, he was killed after a 96-year-old male driver drove his vehicle on the wrong side of Sydney’s M1 Pacific Motorway for 10 minutes causing drivers to swerve to avoid a crash.

The elderly driver’s vehicle then struck two cars and a truck around 4.40am local time.

A 35-year-old truck driver and a 39-year-old male driver were taken to hospital following the crash. New South Wales police have launched an investigation into the collision.

North Belfast MP John Finucane has spoke of his sadness at the sudden death of his former team mate.

Mr Finucane, the former Lámh Dhearg football captain, said: “The news that Ryan Straney died yesterday in Australia is truly heartbreaking”.

He described Mr Straney as a “hugely talented” footballer and hurler.

“I consider myself lucky to have been a teammate of his,” he said.

“His family, friends and all of us at Lámh Dhearg CLG are numb & will do all we can to help support his family.”

John Finucane said Sinn Fein has had ‘various proposals’ put to it recently (PA)
North Belfast MP John Finucane was a team mate of Mr Straney

Mr Straney, a Queen’s University graduate, was a member of a well-known family from the Hannahstown area, many of them linked to the club.

In a statement, Lámh Dhearg said Mr Straney was “a talented dual player and a life-long, loyal and a much valued and dedicated member from a family synomnous with the club”.

“Ryan was an absolute gentleman and a true Gael. He was a very popular member and player among his peers and teammates,” the club said.

“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.”

The club said Mr Straney played for the club since early childhood, but a run of serious injuries hampered his career, forcing him to retire early.

“Following his retirement Ryan got involved in coaching senior hurlers and underage football teams using his astute knowledge in building up a strong rapport with his teams as he helped nurture their skills,” the club added.

“The best way to honour Ryan is to remember the many good times when his company enriched our lives with his affable personality.”

Mr Straney was also a talented golfer and played at the Balmoral Club, which said its members are “devastated to hear the tragic news”.

“Ryan was an excellent sporting athlete, juggling a number of high-level sports including being a low handicap golfer. He represented Balmoral in many senior teams over the years,” the club.

He was the son of Vincent and Sharon, brother to Declan and Calum and grandson of Geordie and Theresa Fegan.

Funeral arrangements are due to be made later.