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Sligo man dies after falling ill during endurance race


Anton McNulty

1211 JP-Duffy 1000A SLIGO-based businessman died on Saturday afternoon after competing in the Westport Sea to Summit Adventure Race.
Fifty-four-year-old JP Duffy from Bunnacranagh, Curry, Co Sligo, is suspected to have died from a heart attack. He was competing in the tenth edition of the hugely popular Sea2Summit event, which involves a mixture of running, cycling and climbing Croagh Patrick.
The adventure race attracted over 2,000 entrants and it is understood that Mr Duffy was after completing the cycle from Croagh Patrick to the Quay, when he started to feel unwell. It is understood that he decided not to finish the race and instead went to his sister’s house at the Quay Hill. While in the house, he became seriously ill and despite the best efforts of the emergency services, he passed away at the scene.
Mr Duffy was a native of Tavneena, Charlestown and a highly successful entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Westel Utilities. Founded in 2000, the company is a contractor in the utilities, light civil engineering and construction sector, but specialises in the installation of telecoms networks. The firm has been involved in projects in Ireland and the UK including the the construction of the T50 ring, a 45km arterial multi-duct fibre ring around Dublin.
Mr Duffy’s death has been described as ‘a huge loss’ to the Curry and Charlestown region where he was an integral member of both communities. He was heavily involved with Curry GAA and was also a member of the Neasden Gaels GAA Club in London when he lived and worked in the city in the 1990s. Tributes, led by Charlestown councillor, Gerry Murray, were paid to Mr Duffy at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.
Mr Duffy was predeceased by his brother, Michael, who died suddenly in 2013, and is survived by his wife, Yvonne and children, Aoife, Patrick and Eanna; brothers, Christy and Eddie and sisters, Caroline and Pearl.
His funeral Mass is due to take place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Curry, today, Tuesday at 12 midday with burial afterwards in Bunnacrannagh Cemetery.
Meanwhile, a competitor taking part in Sea2Summit was brought to hospital on Saturday after colliding with a car at the Quay Hill. It is understood the competitor was cycling down the hill when he collided with a vehicle which was turning right. The competitor was thrown over the bonnet of the car but did not suffer serious injuries. He was brought to hospital in Castlebar as a a precaution.