The Irish Mail on Sunday
Lucky escape for GAA pundit in cycle crash
GAA pundit Paul Earley was rushed to hospital after cycling into the back of a parked van during a charity cycle race this week.
The 49-year-old Sky Sports presenter had his head down as he climbed a hill on his bike and did not notice one of the support vans pull over onto the hard shoulder in front of him.
Mr Earley was taking part in a Race the Rás fundraising event on Thursday and was travelling at around 20kph when the accident happened. He suffered several injuries including compressed discs and a deep cut through his lip. He also had to undergo immediate plastic surgery for facial injuries.
He credits a new cycle helmet he bought last weekend for €100 with saving his life.
Mr Earley told his Facebook friends on Friday his ‘injuries include compressed discs resulting in severe neck pain, broken tooth and deep cut through my lip and mouth.
‘After (Thursday) I can’t overstate the importance of getting a good quality properly fitted helmet,’ he wrote.
The former TV3 and Setanta sports presenter was in the fourth stage of the charity event which he has helped run for four years.
The former Roscommon All-Star footballer said: ‘I was in the hard shoulder with my head down going up the hill, just looking three or four yards ahead as you do climbing a hill.
‘Our support van pulled in on the hard shoulder in front of me and I crashed head first in to it.
‘But thankfully the helmet saved me and there was no spinal or bone damage.’
The Race the Rás event also attracted other former GAA stars such as RTÉ pundits Tomás Ó Sé and Eamon O’Hara.
Last week Louth Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick suffered a broken hip in a charity cycling accident. He also credited his helmet with preventing far more serious injuries.