Monday, 17 August 2009

Paul Healion - RIP

I was truly shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Paul Healion, announced on the radio today.

I didn't know Paul, but I saw him race on a couple of occassions and would have been aware of his results via the internet and the press. The impression I got was of a rider who didn't chase the glamour his talent might have gotten him. Instead he appeared to be a man who's ambition was to be the best he could be in whatever branch of the sport his talents led him to, however unheralded.

His commitment to track racing at a time when it wasn't clear that an Irishman could make a real impression internationally was commendable. That he and his teammates did break through, to be counted among the big nations, is a tribute to their dedication and commitment. I recall seeing David McCann and Tommy Evans in the lonely departures hall of Cardiff Airport once, hauling their bikes and gear through the check in area after a training session in Newport. No support staff, no fanfare, just their own graft. Paul Healion was one of those guys. Sweat and commitment was never in short supply.

The sport needs people like Paul Healion. His passing will be a big loss to Irish cycling.

May he rest in peace.

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