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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 25 November 2020

Down GAA mourn passing of legendary All-Ireland winning player and coach

John Murphy scored a goal in Down’s All-Ireland final win over Kerry in 1968.

Down legend John Murphy.
Down legend John Murphy.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

TRIBUTES ARE BEING paid to Down GAA giant John Murphy who won three All-Irelands with the county during an illustrious career.

Murphy was wing-forward on Down side that defeated Kerry to lift the Sam Maguire in 1968, scoring a goal to help the county become the first Ulster side to achieve the honour.

He lined out at midfield on the Down team that lost to Mayo in the 1966 All-Ireland minor final, one of six players that progressed to the senior team for their victory two years later.

He won two Ulster titles and a National League with Down, in addition to two Railway Cup medals with Ulster. 

A tribute on the Down GAA website said Murphy had “a wonderful football brain and was a man of wise counsel”. He later formed part of the Down backroom team for their All-Ireland successes in 1991 and ’94.

“John had presence and status and had a great ability to relate to players personally and to get the best out of them in turn as footballers,” it continued. “In team management, he was never one to shy from debate whilst fully respecting the final decision.

“As a player and as a selector, John always served and acted in the best interests of Down football. He was loyal too to his friend and colleague Pete McGrath, and when the time came in 2002 for that great era in Down football to end, John was still there with Pete.”

He also managed Mickey Linden’s Mayobridge to the Down SFC three-in-a-row from 2004 to ’06. 

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The funeral will be private due to the government regulations, but Murphy’s funeral cortege will stop at county grounds Pairc Elser on Friday at 1.30pm for a short tribute to his dedication to Newry Shamrocks and Down GAA.

All those who wish to attend are asked to adhere to social distancing measures.

The tribute added: “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. To his wife Veronica, to his children Niamh, Fiona, Gavin and Karl, to John’s grandchildren, his daughters in law, his brothers and sisters we once again offer our deepest and heartfelt sympathy on the loss of a husband, a father, a grandfather and a brother.” 

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Kevin O'Brien

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