Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to two men with strong links to Down GAA

Bertie Leckey (94) was said to have made a great contribution to the GAA in Down over many decades

DOWN GAA is mourning the loss of two men with strong links to Gaelic games in the county.

Tributes have been paid to Bertie Leckey (94) and John Carr (59), who both died peacefully on Sunday.

Mr Leckey was praised as a man who "made a great contribution to the GAA in Down over many decades", while Mr Carr was described as someone who "always had a smile on his face, a hug for everyone and a story to tell".

Originally from Banbridge, Mr Leckey was "at the forefront of the awakening of Gaelic games in Aghaderg" and dedicated much time to Ballyvarley Hurling Club.

A "skilful dual player", he was just 18 when he became Aghaderg founding secretary in 1943.

In a statement, Down GAA said Mr Leckey was someone who was "always willing to be of service to his county", describing him as a "great servant to his club Aghaderg and to his county for many decades".

"He served in many roles with both bodies and held the post of assistant secretary in Down from 1966 to 1970.

"Bertie had also served on the South Down committee and had also been secretary of the county hurling board.

"When Down won the 1968 All-Ireland, Bertie was also secretary of the All County Leagues and was very proud to have been pitch side on that great day in Croke Park.

"Bertie was always willing to be of service to his county and in later years was involved in referees administration. He was always willing to give freely of his time for club and county.

"He was one of those people who made a great contribution to the GAA in Down over many decades and helped make us the organisation we are today."

Mr Leckey won many awards in recognition of his work for the GAA, including becoming the first recipient of the South Down Hall of Fame Award in 1996.

His funeral will be held tomorrow at St Mary's Church, Lisnagade at noon.

Down GAA also led tributes to Mr Carr, whose father was one of the county's All-Ireland winning managers.

Well-known in his home town of Warrenpoint and with strong links to his local GAA club, Mr Carr has been described as a "true gentleman".

"John is the son of Barney Carr, team manager of our 1960/61 All-Ireland winning teams," said Down GAA.

"John himself was a well-known and popular figure in Cumann Pheadair Naofa (GAA club) and in the Warrenpoint area in general.

"We extend our sympathy to Barney, Louise and Hugh on the loss of a much loved son and brother."

The statement added: "To the gaels of Warrenpoint and Aghaderg/ Ballyvarley we extend the sympathies of the family that is Down GAA to you, at this sad time on the loss of two very special people."

Requiem Mass for Mr Carr will take place tomorrow at St Peter's Church, Warrenpoint at 10.30am.

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