Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to Down GAA 'legend' John Murphy

Former Down player John Murphy. Picture by Mal McCann
Brendan Hughes

A Down All-Ireland winner who died yesterday has been remembered as a footballing "legend" who gave "outstanding service and commitment to his county".

John Murphy, from Newry, was part of the 1968 winning team as well as the management team when Down brought back Sam Maguire again in 1991 and 1994.

He was also involved in management of various club sides in a celebrated GAA career across five decades.

Down GAA said Mr Murphy had a "wonderful football brain and was a man of wise counsel".

It said he was Pete McGrath's "right-hand man" in the management team during the All-Ireland successes of 1991 and 1994.

"The GAA world in Down is a poorer place with the loss of a man who gave outstanding service and commitment to his county on and off the field of play across five decades," it said .

"Men like John Murphy helped to make Down the proud GAA county that it is today.

"He was a great ambassador for Down. He was man who loved his football.

"He loved his county, his club and most of all he loved his family.

"On behalf of the Gaels of Down we say thank you for the wonderful days that you gave us."

Newry Shamrocks GAC described Mr Murphy as a "club legend".

"John was a leader on and off the field and a man who encouraged so many," the club said.

"He was someone who always would light up a room with his smile and the one who everyone wanted to hear what he had to say on any recent games."

The Mayobridge club also said it was "deeply saddened" by Mr Murphy's death and expressed its sympathies with his family.

It said Mr Murphy was part of the management team when it won three Down senior championships from 2004 to 2006.

"John was a true Gael and a fine gentleman who will always be remembered with great affection in Mayobridge."

St Killian's GAA in Whitecross, Co Armagh, also said online: "The club is saddened to hear of the passing of our former manager John Murphy. Great man. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time."

Abbey Grammar School in Newry, where Mr Murphy was a past-pupil and MacRory Cup winner in 1964, also expressed its condolences.

Mr Murphy is survived by his wife Veronica and children Niamh, Gavin, Karl and Fiona.

The grandfather-of-eight's funeral will be strictly private due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

His funeral cortege will arrive at Páirc Esler GAA stadium in Newry today at 1.30pm for a short tribute to his dedication to Newry Shamrocks and Down GAA.

Neighbours and friends who wish to pay their respects are welcome to attend while adhering to social distancing rules.

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