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'A gentle giant' - Wexford three-time All-Ireland champion Wheeler dies aged 87

Tributes are being paid to the ‘icon’ that was Ned Wheeler.

RIP: Ned Wheeler.
RIP: Ned Wheeler.

THREE-TIME ALL-IRELAND WINNER and Wexford great Ned Wheeler has died at the age of 87.

His club, Faythe Harriers, confirmed the news earlier today.

“The club expresses it’s [sic] condolences to the friends & family of Faythe Harriers & Wexford GAA hurling legend Ned Wheeler on his death earlier today,” Harriers wrote on Facebook this morning.

“Ned won 3 All Ireland & 6 Leinster Senior Hurling medals with Wexford, as well as 3 Club Senior titles with the Faythe Harriers during his illustrious career. Ned later went on to train and coach adult and underage teams in the club.

“A gentle giant, with a permanent smile when he greeted you, he will be sadly missed. May He Rest In Peace.”

Wheeler was a key member of the great Slayney side that were crowned All-Ireland champions in 1955, 1956 and 1960.

He lined out at centre forward or often in midfield for Wexford, along side the likes of Nicky Rackard, Bobby Rackard, Art Foley and Nick O’Donnell.

Wheeler also helped the county to six Leinster SHC crowns, and his club to three senior county championship titles.

The first of those Leinster medals came in 1951, and it was their first in 33 years which sent Wexford on their way for plenty of success.

Wheeler was born in Laois, grew up in Kilkenny and settled in Wexford town in his early teens. He made his senior inter-county debut in 1949 aged 17, and finished up in 1965.

The tributes have come from far and wide, with Wexford GAA adding:

Wexford GAA would like to extend its condolences to the family and friends of Ned Wheeler, and to all in the Faythe Harriers club, on his passing overnight. During his 17-year inter-county career Ned won 3 All-Irelands (1955, 56 & 60) 6 Leinster & 2 National League medals. RIP

President of the GAA, John Horan, also expressed the sympathies of the Association to his family and friends, saying: “Ned Wheeler will forever be revered as an icon by the generation of hurling fans who reveled in his exploits for Wexford between 1949 and 1965.

“The extraordinary length of service is a testament to a player who was a three-time All-Ireland winner playing at midfield and centre forward and who could always be relied upon to give of his best for club, county and province.

“Ned and his colleagues on those Model County teams laid a path for the heroes who came after and exists right through to the present day.”

wex Source: Wexford GAA Twitter.

fh Source: Faythe Harriers GAA.

f2 Source: Faythe Harriers GAA.

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Emma Duffy

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