Ulster Cycling News

Liam Horner (RIP)

Back in 1970 I remember meeting a cyclist on the road. I was 16 at the time and suffering from the knock. He told me he was a member of Lorraine CC and was spending a few days in the North. His name was Liam Horner. He sat with me at 8mph and pushed me back to Belfast from Hillsborough. Little did I know that he was among the best cyclists that Ireland has produced. To this day I have never forgotten the help he gave me. He chatted away with one hand on my saddle as I limped home. Cycling Ulster offer their condolence to the family of one of the true greats in the cycling world. Below is attached a message from Cycling Ireland.

Tommy Lamb

Irish cycling is mourning the unexpected loss of Liam Horner, a former national champion and highly respected international, who passed away following an accident last weekend.

The 59 year old won many big races during his cycling career, including the prestigious Manx International in 1967 and the Tour of Ireland in 1972, and was regarded as one of the best competitors in the country. ‘Liam was a fantastic rider,’ says Phil O’Brien, who raced against him on many occasions. ‘He was at the top for many years, and had only Peter Doyle as a rival. The two of them were far ahead of everyone else.’

Liam Horner began cycling as a touring rider, regularly going on hostelling trips around Wicklow, but gradually drifted into competition while riding with the Lorraine club. As O’Brien recollects, he was the first rider from Ireland to finish the Tour of Britain when he lined out as part of a international all-stars team in 1965. He spent a season racing in Brittany around the same time, and after returning went on to record great success on the domestic front and in the UK.

1967 brought that famous win in the three-lap Manx International, while in 1968 he finished seventh in the Milk Race and represented Ireland in first of two Olympic games in Mexico. In 1971 he won the national championships and then, the following year, raced to a fine win in the Tour of Ireland.

Besides being a fine role model, his dedication to cycling also helped young Irish riders in an indirect way. ‘Liam went to the world championships – I think it was 1965 – and stayed in a tent before the race,’ says O’Brien. ‘He came to the attention of a Belgian called Herman Niis, who looked after him and then went on to help out many Irish riders over the years.’ One of these was a young Sean Kelly, who lived with Niis’ in the early stages of his career. And so while Liam Horner did not compete as a professional, he paved the way for Ireland’s future world number one and Classics King.

‘Liam’s passing is a real shock,’ says O’Brien. ‘His 60th birthday was to be this June and he had a lot of plans for his retirement. He was still in good shape and enjoyed leisure cycling. He had been planning on going to Greece in a few weeks.’

‘I will remember him as a real winner - he was brilliant on his day, really unbeatable. He was a good climber, a good sprinter, a good time-triallist – he had it all, really. He was a super rider with exceptional class.’

Liam Horner will be laid to rest tomorrow morning (Thursday) at Shanganagh Cemetery, following 11 o’clock mass in the Church of the Assumption in Dalkey. He is survived by his wife Geraldine, daughters Celine and Jane and sons Neil and Eoin. May he rest in peace.

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Trackbacks are disabled.