A former star competitor with Carrick-on-Suir Triathlon Club was killed in a tragic accident during a cycle race in England last week.
Junior Heffernan, aged 23, was riding in the professional Severn Bridge Road Race near Olveston, Gloucestershire on Sunday, March 3 when he was involved in a collision with a car.
The talented athlete, who had represented Ireland in the triathlon, was pronounced dead at the scene. The race run by Bristol Road Club under the auspices of British Cycling was halted by the organisers. British Cycling and the police are conducting investigations into the crash.
The deceased was based in Yelverton, Devon but had strong family connections in South Tipperary. Gary McCarthy, Chairman of Carrick Triathlon Club, said his father Bernard has family in Clonmel while his mother Denise has relatives in Carrick-on-Suir.
Junior competed with Carrick-on-Suir Triathlon Club for several years and represented Ireland in the junior European duathlon championships and the junior European and world triathlon championships in 2007.
He continued to represent Ireland in the triathlon through to the 2009 season but began concentrating on cycling after suffering hip injuries, which affected his running.
He joined the UK-based Herbalife cycling team and the Severn Bridge race was his first race with that squad.
Gary McCarthy expressed condolences to Mr Heffernan’s family on behalf of Carrick Triathlon Club. The Club passed a vote of sympathy to Junior’s family and friends at a meeting last week and will be sending a wreath to his funeral in England.
He recalled that Junior competed with Carrick Triathlon Club as an elite junior triathlete for several years during his teens and received huge support from his parents, who travelled widely with him for training and competitions. Mr McCarthy described Junior as a very quiet, nice and unassuming young man, who was very dedicated to his sport and packed a lot into his young life. “It’s very sad and everyone at the Club is shook up over his death,” he told The Nationalist.