Tributes for 'giant of gaelic football' Eugene McGee

Tributes for 'giant of gaelic football' Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee, the former manager of Offaly football team, has died.

Mr McGee, who was in his late seventies, passed away in the early hours of this morning.

He led Offaly to an All-Ireland win in 1982 when they denied Kerry five in a row in one of the most famous finals in history.

The Longford native was also a former journalist with the Sunday Tribune and Irish Independent, and later managing director of the Longford Leader.

He also served as the chair of the Football Review Committee.

Mr McGee is mourned by his wife Marian, daughter Linda and son Conor.

Since the news, tributes have flooded in.

Offaly GAA said that McGee's death had "left the GAA world in mourning".

McGee's home county, Longford, said that he "epitomised all that is good in the GAA and was also a great voice for rural Ireland".

Richie O'Connor, who captained the famous Offaly side in 1982 said it was "a complete surprise" and "a sad loss."

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, O'Connor said Offaly were "lucky to have him" praising his dedication to the sport and how helpful he was to players.

GAA President John Horan paid tribute to McGee saying he "a giant of gaelic football".

Mr Horan said: "Like Mick O’Dwyer and Kevin Heffernan, with whom he shared so many sideline battle of wits, Eugene was considered a man ahead of his time and responsible for creating a new era of popularity for the game in the 70s and 80s.

“A straight-talking man of great integrity, Eugene was a hugely respected journalist and author and his passion for the game always shone through.

“The GAA benefitted greatly from this passion through his work on the field, and also through his commitment off it where Eugene was instrumental in helping to aid the evolvement of Gaelic football and was a former Chairman of a Football Review Committee.

RTÉ Sport's Des Cahill shared a story told to him by former TD Tom Parlon in tribute.

"On the morning of the 82 All Ireland a journalist asked Eugene how badly #Offaly wanted to win.

"He replied 'there's men in that dressing room who haven't had a pint since last Wednesday night!'"

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan hailed McGee as a man who "always enjoyed a robust and full blooded argument".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin praised McGee as "a man of courage and integrity who gave so much to his community".

Many more from the GAA community have taken to Twitter to share their memories of McGee and pay tribute to the manager.

Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.

This story was updated at 4pm.

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