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Tributes to Former Irish News sports editor PJ McKeefry

Former Irish News Sports Editor PJ McKeefry, who passed away at the weekend.
Paul Ainsworth

Former Irish News sports editor PJ McKeefry has been described as “one of the giants of Irish sports journalism” following his death at the weekend.

The 86-year-old, right, who died on November 9 following a period of ill health, spent almost three decades at the helm of the Irish News sportsdesk, retiring in 1996 following a hugely influential career.

Hailing from Swatragh, Co Derry, GAA expert PJ started his professional life as a primary school teacher in his hometown after attending college in Co Waterford, before moving to England where he decided to try his hand at journalism.

Learning on the job and developing his skills, PJ eventually returned to Ireland where he began his Irish News career as a sub-editor. However, his love of GAA drew him to the sportsdesk, where he began reporting, and eventually rose to become sports editor.

Irish News editor Noel Doran said: “PJ McKeefry was one of the giants of Irish sports journalism and played a role of major importance for our paper over the decades. He built up a network of correspondents in all parts of the country which ensured outstanding coverage for sport in general and the GAA in particular, and one of his proudest moments came when his beloved Derry won the All-Ireland football title in 1993.

“PJ was also a mentor to many younger journalists and was hugely respected by all the sporting figures he dealt with throughout his long career. I would like to extend the sincere sympathy of all his past and present colleagues at The Irish News to his family and friends.”

PJ, who was a Gael Linn activist and former Secretary for Michael Davitt GAC in Swatragh, is survived by his wife Eileen and son Niall. His funeral will be held on Wednesday at St John the Baptist Church, Granaghan.

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