Racing: Irish rider dies after fall

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Irish apprentice Sean Cleary, who suffered severe head injuries in a fall at Galway a week ago, lost his fight for life in a Dublin hospital last night.

He was 22 and with tragic poignancy his girlfriend, Maggie Farrell, gave birth to their son four days ago.

Cleary was riding All Heart for Paddy Mullins in a seven-furlong Flat race when his mount clipped heels and fell half a mile from the finish. He had been in a coma on a life-support machine and his condition deteriorated on Friday. "His tragic death is mourned by not only his family but everyone in Irish racing," said the Turf Club's medical officer, Walter Halley, last night.

Athlone-born Cleary, who rode 14 winners, first spent three years with Jim Bolger before joining Pat Flynn in County Waterford, where he had been based for the past two seasons.

His biggest success came almost 12 months ago when he won the November Handicap at Leopardstown on Bubble N Squeak.

He is the second rider to have suffered fatal head injuries in Ireland in the past few months, following the death of jump jockey Kieran Kelly in August after his mount fell in a chase at Kilbeggan.