Antrim GAA hero’s heartmelting tribute to Ryan Straney after Wexford win revealed as fans hail ‘one of life’s good ones’

GERARD WALSH was praised as ‘one of life’s good ones’ after he dedicated his heroics in Antrim’s win over Wexford to Ryan Straney.

Straney, 27,  died following a multi-vehicle crash in Australia in the early hours of the morning of Monday, April 15.

Ryan Straney died in a road traffic accident in Australia


Ryan Straney died in a road traffic accident in AustraliaCredit: O’Kanes Funeral Directors
Gerard Walsh paid tribute to Straney following Antrim's win over Wexford


Gerard Walsh paid tribute to Straney following Antrim’s win over WexfordCredit: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The Lamh Dhearg man passed away after a collision while travelling on the M1 Pacific Motorway when a 96-year-old man drove a vehicle south into north-bound traffic.

Straney was in one of the cars and died at the scene, while the elderly man was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital for mandatory testing and minor injuries.

He was laid to rest at a funeral service at at St Joseph’s Church in Hannahstown on Saturday.

The pain of his loss echoed around Antrim, including at Corrigan Park in Belfast, where the Saffrons faced Wexford in the Leinster SHC the same day as Straney was buried.

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The Ulstermen emerged victorious in stunning fashion, with a late Gerard Walsh sideline cut and a Conal Cunning free sealed the shock 2-22 to 2-20 win.

Walsh was quizzed about the game afterwards, and revealed a poignant aspect of the game which was dedicated to Straney’s memory.

The  O’Donovan Rossa conducted the post-match interview with his black helmet still on, and revealed that he had bought it from Straney six years ago.

BBC Northern Ireland presenter Mark Sidebottom explained: “After the match, I interviewed Gerard Walsh and he said, ‘Mark, I’m going to keep my helmet on.’

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“I said, ‘why are you keeping that helmet on?’ and he said, ‘it’s personal.’

“It was really personal because after the match, he came up to me and said, ‘the reason I kept the helmet on is because Ryan Straney, who lost his life in Australia, that was his helmet.’

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“‘I bought it off him six years ago.’

“He said it was all about recognising how precarious and how fragile life is.”

The BBC then posted a clip from the interview itself, in which Walsh said: “It means a lot and it means a lot to the Antrim people.

“We had a bit of bad news last week with Ryan Straney and we are all just delighted to get the opportunity to go out and represent our clubs and families whereas that lad doesn’t.”

The gesture from the 27-year-old blew fans away, with Colm saying: “Beautiful gesture..”

Ciaran said: “I managed @AontroimGAA Minors in 2015 and it was clear after a weeks training that Gerard was an outstanding player and leader at a young age.

“Made selecting a captain that year a very simple choice. Terrific display yesterday after a period out.”

David commented: “That’s Gerard all over. One of life’s good people”

Chris hailed: “Brilliant tribute from a class act on & off the pitch” while Joe added: “Touch of class.”

Siobhan said: “The GAA really comes together to support each other at times of need. Gerard Walsh is a credit to Antrim and Rossa. A class act!”

Antrim, Ireland – Latest news- The Sun