I was shocked today to hear that Paul Healion was killed last night in a car crash. Paul grew up in Dunboyne where I lived. We cycled together many a time and I first met him when he was just a junior rider.
I still remember the bit of road we were on when Paul (aged about 16 at the time) told me he would be a professional some day. I thought – How many kids have said that – but Paul went on to dominate the Irish cycling scene and race abroad. I remember France didn’t go too well for him – he told me the locals used to literally force him into the ditch in races.
Still, he was a superb talent, and getting better it seemed. He won a great National TT title in Warrenpoint this year for the third time in a time of 20:42. In this year’s Rás, Paul won stage 6 and was in the top 10 in four other stages. He also won the Irish National Criterion Championships in Dundrum, ahead of Nicholas Roche, if I remember correctly.
Paul had been due to ride the Tour of Ireland, which begins this weekend, as part of the Irish National team.
May he rest in peace.