A former GAA player who was selected for the Kilkenny senior hurling team was killed in a single-vehicle accident in Kilkenny in the early hours of Friday morning.
James “Shiner” Nolan, 34, who was named locally from close to Clara village died when the car he was driving hit a wall at Carn in Dunbell, Co Kilkenny at 2.30 am.
Mr Nolan, who played at corner forward for the senior team and for his local Clara GAA club was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services which attended the scene a short time later.
His body was removed to St Luke's General Hospital in Kilkenny. A post-mortem will be carried out at University Hospital Waterford shortly.
The road was closed for several hours to allow for an examination of the scene by Forensic Collision Investigators but has now reopened.
The Nolan family suffered another major tragedy several decades ago when two of his older brothers died in a slurry tank accident. Mr Nolan worked on the family farm with his father Gerry.
He was also a cousin of 13-year-old Harry Byrne who died following a freak accident at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny city in November 2021. The young boy was rushed to St Luke’s General Hospital after being accidentally hit by a sliotar in the head while playing with friends at lunchtime.
A close neighbour who did not want to be named said: “We’re all just devastated at news of his passing. The parish which is tight-knit is just in shock. James was so gifted at sports, every sport he played. He played soccer for Bennettsbridge as well.
“James was a really hard worker and so many people loved being in his company as he was a really good laugh. Words can’t explain how upset everyone is.”
The close-knit area has suffered a number of tragedies in recent years when the father and uncle of former All-Ireland Kilkenny senior captain Lester Ryan died in separate accidents.
Johnny Ryan, Lester’s father died when he was pinned against a wall by his tractor at his farm at Dunbell near the village of Clara in 2015 while his uncle Lester, a former Kilkenny hurler was killed in a cycling accident involving a tractor near his home in 2020. Johnny Ryan in a farm accident.
Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed this incident to come forward. Any road users who were travelling in the area at the time who may have camera footage (including dash cam) is asked to make it available to Gardaí.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Thomastown Garda Station on 056 775 4150, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.