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Tributes paid to Co Tyrone GAA "club great" who has passed away suddenly at the age of 78

Tributes have been paid to Co Tyrone GAA "club great" Mena Devlin, who has passed away suddenly at the age of 78
Marie Louise McConville

Tributes have been paid to a Co Tyrone GAA "club great" who has passed away suddenly at the age of 78.

Great-grandfather Mena Devlin, who was from Washingbay Road, outside Coalisland, passed away at home on Wednesday.

Well-known in Co Tyrone GAA circles, Mr Devlin was a former player, chairman, referee and manager with Derrylaughan Kevin Barrys GAC.

A county minor in 1957, the father-of-five went on to feature as a player and manager in every single county final appearance recorded by the club.

Having started his career with the senior team in 1956, and a year later, as a county minor, Mr Devlin was also a member of the first Tyrone team to win a McKenna Cup in 1957.

A stalwart of the team throughout the 1960s, Mena played in the county finals of 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967, four of those years as captain of the team.

In 1967, he became club chairman, as well as captain and team trainer, and led the club to its first ever senior championship title from full-back.

While he continued to play for a number of years, Mr Devlin also became known as a capable referee, taking charge of the Tyrone senior county finals in 1971 and 1973.

He also refereed a number of Ulster club championships and National League games during this time.

Mr Devlin served as a member of the Tyrone County Board from 1970-1974 and completed a 20-year playing career for Derrylaughan Kevin Barrys GAC in 1976.

Barry Devlin last night described his grandfather as a "great family man" who was also well-known for healing charms, which would draw people from near and far.

"He was a very big character," he said.

A tribute from Derrylaughan Kevin Barrys GAC described Mr Devlin as "someone who shaped and moulded every team he played on and managed".

"Mena was a larger than life figure, whose raw strength and ability on the field was matched only by his leadership qualities," the tribute read.

Requiem Mass for Mena Devlin will take place today on Friday at 12Noon at St Patrick's Church, Clonoe. Interment will take place afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

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