GAA Football

Tributes paid to a huge supporter of Scor and GAA, William James Smith

William James Smith (second from right) with wife Aileen, former GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail and fellow Glasdrumman clubman Connaire Harrison at last year's Irish News Allstar awards

WARM tributes have been paid to William James Smith, a stalwart of the GAA in county Down who passed away on Tuesday.

The Glasdrumman man served the GAA with distinction through his club, as chairperson of the South Down committee, a vice-chairperson of the county committee and most recently as Irish and cultural officer and serving chair of the Scot committee.

He was also a successful businessman, serving as a director of construction firm Glasgiven Contracts.

Club and county officials, as well as current and former players who pulled on the famous red and black jersey, have all spoken of their shock and sadness at the passing of William James Smith.

“He was an ardent Down supporter, big into the culture and the Scor and he’d be widely known throughout Ulster in Scor and GAA circles,” said Down County Board chairman Sean Rooney.

“He lived for the GAA. I served on a lot of committees with him and always found him to be an honest, forthright character. Straight down the middle.

“He was a great support to me when I became chairman, and was always someone you knew you could get sound advice from.”

Those sentiments were echoed by county secretary Sean Og McAteer, who added: “His wise counsel will be missed by each and every one of us, a man with a passion for all things Irish. We were privileged to be able to call William a friend and a colleague.”

Current Down forward Connaire Harrison is a fellow Glasdrumman clubman.

He said: “Will miss the wee chats I had with him every week before a Down match. Complete gentleman and will be missed massively about the place.

“RIP William, condolences to all the family.”

The club also posted a statement on its social media pages, which read: “The committee and members of Glasdrumman GAC, along with the entire Glasdrumman community, are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of William James Smith.

“William served as chairman of our club for many years, he is a current committee member and good friend to our club. We can’t put into words just how big an influence he was in the everyday life of our club and our members benefitted greatly from William’s wisdom, dedication and love of all things GAA.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Aileen, his children Aidan, Eugene, Therese, Caroline, Aisling, his grandchildren and wider family circle at this very sad time.”

The funeral of William James Smith will take place at St Mary’s Church, Glasdrumman at 1pm on Saturday.

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