Irish jockey dies following Galway fall


Irish apprentice jockey Sean Cleary, who suffered severe head injuries in a fall at Galway last Sunday, has died. He was 22.

In a statement tonight Walter Halley, the Irish Turf Club's medical officer, said: "It is with deep regret that I announce the death of Sean Cleary following severe head injuries sustained at Galway on Sunday last, October 26th.

"His tragic death is deeply mourned by the Cleary family, the Turf Club and everyone in Irish racing.

The jockey's girlfriend Maggie Farrell gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

Cleary was riding All Heart for Paddy Mullins in the seven-furlong Corrib Oil Auction Race when his mount clipped the heels of another runner and fell about half a mile from the finish.

He was first taken to Galway University Hospital, but was transferred by helicopter to the neuro-surgical department of the intensive care unit at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

He had been in a coma on a life support machine since being moved to Dublin, but his condition had deteriorated last night.

Athlone-born Cleary, who rode 14 winners, first spent three years with Jim Bolger before joining Pat Flynn in County Waterford, where he had been for the past two seasons.

His biggest success came almost 12 months ago when he won the November Handicap at Leopardstown on Bubble N Squeak.

He is the third rider to have suffered injuries of this sort in Ireland in the past 15 months, following Jimmy Mansell at Ballinrobe and Kieran Kelly at Kilbeggan.

Kelly, who was also taken to the Beaumont Hospital, died on August 12 as a result of injuries suffered four days earlier. He had been riding Balmy Native in a handicap chase when the horse fell.

Mansell made a good recovery after several operations, but it is unlikely he will ever resume raceriding.