GAA PRESIDENT LIAM O’Neill has lead the tributes to referee Shane Hourigan, who was tragically killed this morning in a two-car collision in Co Limerick.
Mr Hourigan, aged 40, was a well known GAA figure from Rathkeale and was an inter-county hurling referee.
The crash happened at Reens Pike at around 6.50am this morning. Hourigan was the only person in the car at time.
The driver and only occupant of the other car was injured and taken for treatment to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.
A section of the road remains closed this afternoon as forensic tests are carried out, and local diversions are in place. Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to the collision to contact Newcastlewest Station on 069-20650, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.
“It was with great regret that we learnt of the tragic loss of Shane this morning following a car accident”, said O’Neill. “He was regarded as one of the association’s most promising up and coming hurling referees and was highly respected by his peers.”
“Our thoughts and prayers and those of the wider GAA membership are with his wife Marie, son Shane, mother Ellen, his immediate family and wide circle of friends at this sad time.”
Hourigan was the referee for yesterday’s AIB All-Ireland intermediate hurling club semi-final in Navan between Rower-Inistioge (Kilkenny) and Clooney Gaels (Antrim) yesterday.
Last year, he was in charge of a number of high-profile games including the All-Ireland minor hurling semi-final between Kilkenny and Waterford and the Munster U21 hurling final between Clare and Tipperary.
The GAA President also extended his sympathies and those of the association as a whole to the family of Barry Nash (Clare), a young All Ireland Minor Handball Champion, who was killed in a separate car accident yesterday.