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Conor Calder and his Brother Pearse team-mates, with whom the late Declan Sexton hurled in the UK.

Seven saddle up for London to Lahinch cycle in Declan’s memory


SEVEN men will begin a cycle from the London Eye to Lahinch this weekend in memory of Declan Sexton from Ennistymon, who passed away two years ago, aged 27, after suffering a rare form of cancer.

The seven are cycling to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society and have a target of €25,000.

Those cycling include David Carey, Seanie Madigan, Conor Calder, Leo O’Regan, Sean Ronayne, Francis O’Flynn and Conor Meaney.

Speaking to the Champion, Conor said he had known him from the time Declan spent in London.

“Declan was from Ennistymon and I was friends with him here in London, I lived with him for a few years. One of the other lads, Dave Carey, is a cousin of Declan’s and the rest of the lads went to the University of Limerick with him.”

In the UK, Declan worked as a civil engineer, while he played GAA with the Brother Pearses club, winning an All Britain Hurling Championship in 2017, playing in the half back line. The club retired the number five jersey for two years after his passing.

Declan was very young when he succumbed to the illness.

“He was only 27 when he passed away. I was talking to him about a month before he passed away and he was kind of on the mend at that stage.

“He was on the vulnerable person list around the time of the lockdown here so he went back to Ireland to isolate and then he fell ill again.”

Conor said that Declan was very likeable.

“He was an absolutely genuine lad, an absolute gentleman. Never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was good craic, a normal 27-year-old. He loved hurling, loved playing for Brother Pearses.”

Some of Declan’s friends were very helpful to him while he was sick in the UK, Conor added, “While he was sick he was over here and living with the lads. I would have been living back in Ireland at that time.

“The lads did an unreal job, two of the lads doing the cycle, Sean Madigan and Conor Meaney, they spent a lot of time with him and looked after him over here. It’s still hard to get your head around now.”

Preparations are almost complete now. “We’re pretty much training flat out since Christmas, the work is pretty much done at this stage, I’m just looking forward to getting on the bike and getting going. It’ll be a challenge alright, but it’ll be a bit of craic as well.”

He said it is positive for the group to do something to remember their friend.

“We’re all delighted to do it. It’s about raising awareness and funds and it’s a tribute to Declan as well.”

The group will set off from London on May 21 at 9am, arriving in Dublin on May 25, when some more cyclists will join in.

They will reach Lahinch on Friday, May 27 around 6pm and on the Saturday there will be a short cycle from Ennistymon GAA, starting at 12noon, with all invited to join in.

A Mass in Declan’s memory will be held at 6.30pm that evening, with food and drink afterwards.

Funds raised will go to the Irish Cancer Society and donations can be made on the idonate platform – search London to Lahinch 800km charity cycle.

Owen Ryan
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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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