Northern Ireland news

Former Down team mates line road outside Páirc Esler to say final farewells to John Murphy

The funeral cortege of John Murphy stopped at Páirc Esler GAA stadium in Newry. Picture by Hugh Russell

PLAYERS from the 1968 Down All-Ireland winning team yesterday lined the route outside Páirc Esler in Newry to say their final farewells to John Murphy.

Remembered as a footballing "legend", who gave "outstanding service and commitment to his county", he passed away peacefully on Thursday.

The father-of-four's funeral was strictly private due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

But his funeral cortege yesterday stopped at Páirc Esler for a short time to allow mourners to pay tribute to Mr Murphy's dedication to Newry Shamrocks and Down GAA.

Up until recently, Mr Murphy from Newry had never missed a game in which Down were involved at Páirc Esler where he was a familiar figure.

And it was at that stadium that former Down GAA figures including, Mickey Cole, Sean O'Neill, Colm McAlarney and Peter Rooney, as well as neighbours and friends gathered to pay tribute.

The Newry Shamrocks clubman was part of the 1968 winning team, scoring a goal in Down's 1968 All-Ireland success over Kerry. He was also Pete McGrath's right-hand man when the county reclaimed the Sam Maguire twice in the 1990s.

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".

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

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