GAA Football

Tyrone pay tribute to former All-Ireland final referee

Former two-time All-Ireland final referee Paddy Devlin, who passed away on Sunday

TYRONE GAA have paid tribute to two-time former All-Ireland final referee Paddy Devlin, who passed away on Sunday.

A native of Armagh, Paddy moved to Omagh in the early 1950s and immersed himself in the local St Enda’s club, where he went on to win a Tyrone senior championship and hold the posts of chairman and treasurer.

He was a member of the 1957 Omagh side that beat Derrylaughan in the county final, and was also a member of the backroom team when they reclaimed the title six years later.

Paddy was also involved with the West Tyrone minor board, with a statement from Tyrone county board saying he “helped to shape the development of youth football in the county”.

He is perhaps best known, though, for taking charge of two All-Ireland football finals. He officiated at the 1972 decider between Kerry and Offaly, and the Dublin v Galway final two years later alongside four Omagh clubmen that acted as umpires on a proud day for St Enda’s.

In between the two finals, he was chosen to travel to San Francisco in 1973 to referee the annual exhibition match between the Allstars and All-Ireland winners Offaly.

“Paddy Devlin was a unique character and was one of the most popular men ever to grace the club,” read the Tyrone GAA statement.

“He never forgot his Armagh roots however, but as an adopted St. Enda’s and Tyrone man, Paddy left an indelible mark on anyone who had the privilege of knowing him.

“In later years, Paddy always made great efforts to attend various youth training activities in the club and nothing made him more prouder than seeing scores of young boys and girls taking part in games on a weekly basis.”

Paddy will be laid to rest in Drumragh after requiem mass in Sacred Heart Church at 10am this morning.

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