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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 November, 2003, 21:22 GMT
Irish jockey dies after fall
Irish apprentice Sean Cleary has died after suffering severe head injuries in a fall at Galway last Sunday.

In a statement, Walter Halley, the Irish Turf Club's medical officer, said: "It is with deep regret that I announce the death of Sean Cleary following severe head injuries sustained at Galway on Sunday last, 26 October.

"His tragic death is deeply mourned by the Cleary family, the Turf Club and everyone in Irish racing."

The 22-year-old was riding All Heart for Paddy Mullins in the seven-furlong Corrib Oil Auction Race when his mount clipped the heels of another runner and fell about half a mile from the finish.

He was first taken to Galway University Hospital, but was transferred by helicopter to the neuro-surgical department of the intensive care unit at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

He had a real future as a strong lightweight
Trainer Pat Flynn

He had been in a coma on a life support machine since being moved to Dublin, but his condition deteriorated on Friday night.

Sunday's meetings at Leopardstown and Clonmel were called off as a mark of respect.

Cleary served the first part of his apprenticeship with Jim Bolger before switching to join Pat Flynn's yard where he spent the last two seasons.

The Athlone-born rider had partnered 14 winners this season and Flynn praised Cleary's dedication to his job.

"It's a terrible situation that Sean was cruelly mowed down in the prime of his life," he said.

"He was very dedicated, was enjoying his best season and had a real future as a strong lightweight.

"He was a credit to his family. He always came in good form and there was never a complaint whether you wanted him to ride five or six lots or pick stones on the gallops."

It's very sad news
Jockey David Condon on friend Sean Cleary

Fellow apprentice David Condon, who will ride Irish horse Holy Orders in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, paid tribiute to his friend.

He said: "Sean was a very good friend of mine. We went racing on numerous occasions when he was with Jim Bulger.

"I will be riding on Tuesday in Sean's memory."

Cleary is the third rider to have suffered injuries of this sort in Ireland in the past 15 months, following Jimmy Mansell at Ballinrobe and Kieran Kelly at Kilbeggan.

Kelly, who was also taken to the Beaumont Hospital, died in August as a result of injuries suffered four days earlier.

Mansell made a good recovery after several operations, but it is unlikely he will ever resume race riding.

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