Kilkenny have withdrawn from the Walsh Cup following the death of Lester Ryan's father in a farming accident early this morning. According to the Irish Times, it is believed that Johnny Ryan was spreading slurry at his farm near the village of Clara when he got out of his tractor only for it to roll backwards and result in fatal injuries.
RTÉ have since reported that Kilkenny have chosen to withdraw from the Walsh Cup as a mark of respect for Ryan. The Cats were due to play NUI Galway on Friday and Carlow on Sunday but those fixtures will no longer go ahead and instead NUIG will take on Carlow in Fenagh on Friday.
Although it was his son who had the ultimate honour of captaining Kilkenny to the All Ireland title last year, Johnny Ryan was himself a fine hurler and was very well regarded within the Kilkenny hurling community. He captained the Kilkenny over-40's side to All Ireland victory as well as lining up at centre-back for Clara's first county title win in 1986.