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Iconic hurling manager Sean McGuinness has died aged 76

Sean McGuinness former Down and Antrim Hurling manager Picturre Mal McCann.

ICONIC hurling manager Sean McGuinness, who died yesterday, was a "larger than life" character, remembered by as "a great storyteller" and "a great family man".

The 76-year-old had led Down hurlers to two Ulster titles and took Ulster to three Railway Cup Finals, having managed Antrim twice and he also took on clubs Lavey in Derry, the Queen's University team and south Belfast club Bredagh in 2007 with his son Colm - hanging up his boots in 2012.

Mr McGuinness's home club Patrick Sarsfield GAC - of which he is a "fifth generation" confirmed the death of their "stalwart" yesterday.

"Sean was a life long club member who served our club in numerous roles over many years and he will be sadly missed by our whole club and wider GAA community," it said.

There was an outpouring of tributes to the "true Gael" and "legend" on social media, where those who played under him praised his managerial skills, saying no matter how they performed "he always bigged you up because he knew that just taking part in the sport he loved was enough".

Down senior player Danny Hughes said he was "a great character".

"Apart from his hurling, I just loved the man," he told The Irish News.

"He was a great storyteller. He was a great family man too. That was reflected in his 70th birthday party, up in the Balmoral Hotel. Family came from all over the world, or were on screen. He loved seeing us Down boys again too."

Antrim star Dominic McKinley said he was a "players' man", who had "rapport" with everyone he coached and "cared very deeply about what he did, not just hurling in Antrim or Down but hurling in Ulster".

"I don't think any Antrim players had a bad word to say about him, they loved him at that time."

Belfast Ladies Netball Club, which his daughter Clar Rois coaches, also paid tribute to "a great character with a fantastic legacy in the sport".

Mr McGuinness, who had worked for 19 years as an engineering instructor at St Patrick's Training School having been an apprentice sheet metalworker, was also remembered fondly by past pupils.

He is survived by his wife Eileen and children Eileen, Colm, Orla, Sean Og, Clar Rois, Niall, Aisling and Emer.

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