Northern Ireland

Ryan Straney: Mourners at funeral of west Belfast GAA player killed in Sydney crash hear how he ‘lived life to the full’

Hundreds attended the Requiem Mass for the Lámh Dhearg CLG player on Saturday

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.

Mourners at the funeral of west Belfast GAA player Ryan Straney have gathered to say their final farewells to a “beautiful person” who “lived life to the full”.

A priest at the service at St Joseph’s Church, Hannahstown described how the 27-year-old’s life had been cut short following a tragic crash in Australia earlier this month.

Fr Patrick Devlin also spoke about the numerous achievements of the young sportsman, who was remembered as “very bright and intelligent”.

Mr Straney, from the Upper Springfield Road, was a talented Gaelic footballer and hurler, playing with his local club Lámh Dhearg CLG, as well as previously a minor for Antrim.

From the Hannahstown area, he died when his car was struck on a motorway in Sydney.

A 96-year-old man is alleged to have driven the wrong way along one of the road’s lanes before colliding with several vehicles.

Fr Devlin said mourners on Saturday that Mr Straney was a “great friend and talented young man” and described the sadness of his family and pals following his death.

“You have lost a beautiful person in your life and I hope that you have – and take – the type of courage that he had in his life, to live life to the full and to take each day as new and as precious,” he said.

The priest said that in his “short life, he achieved so much”, but being “a son was important to Ryan, and it is what gave him life and happiness”.

“It gave him the opportunities and challenges to do and achieve the many things that he wanted to do in his life - not least of all his education, his success in sports, his travel,” he said.

Fr Devlin added: “I was exhausted listening to the hobbies and the skills and the talents of Ryan.

“My goodness, it was exhausting thinking about it, between Lámh Dhearg and all the different sports and hobbies he had – he excelled in them all.”

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

Fr Devlin described how Mr Straney was a “very loyal person, a very moral person... who understood the difference between right and wrong”.

“He was strong-minded and faced up to challenges well,” he said.

“He most certainly brought his intelligence and his values to everything that he did... his goodness, his kindness were brought with him throughout this local place and much beyond.”

A fundraiser for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which assisted the Straney family in bringing Ryan’s body home from Australia, has now gathered almost £90,000.