Tributes paid to GAA referee killed in car crash

Shane Hourigan died following a two car collision in Limerick this morning

Hourigan officiating at the 2012 Munster Club Senior Hurling Championship final. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Hourigan officiating at the 2012 Munster Club Senior Hurling Championship final. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan


Limerick GAA referee Shane Hourigan, who was killed in a car crash this morning, has been described by the association as “one of the most promising” up and coming match officials in the sport and a man highly respected by those involved in gaelic games.

Hourigan (40), a father-of-one, lost his life following a two car collision at Reens Pike in Limerick just before 7am. He was removed to Limerick University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the other car was taken to the Mid Western Regional Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Separately, the GAA has extended its sympathies to the family of Barry Nash from Clare, a young All Ireland minor handball champion, who was killed in a separate car accident on Sunday.

In Limerick hurling circles, Hourigan was widely considered to be the top referee working in the game and had officiated at both club and national level.

He was a member of St. Mary’s Seán Finns, Rathkeale Club and had been on the National Hurling Referee’s panel for three years.

Amongst his achievements in the game, he refereed the 2012 Connacht intermediate and Munster senior club finals and last year the All-Ireland intermediate club final, Allianz League division two final, Munster under-21 final, All-Ireland minor semi-final and All-Ireland colleges hurling.

Yesterday afternoon, in his final match in charge, he officiated over the AIB All-Ireland intermediate club semi-final between Rower Inistioge of Kilkenny and Clooney Gaels of Antirm at Páirc Tailteann, Navan.

“He was regarded as one of the Association’s most promising up and coming hurling referees and was highly respected by his peers,” Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill said in a statement.

“It was with great regret that we learnt of the tragic loss of Shane this morning following a car accident.

“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.”

As news of his death circulated, gaelic players, supporters and clubs reflected on the tragedy through social media.