GAA legend McDonagh is laid to rest
'His was an incredible presidency'
GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl was among the thousands of mourners at the funeral of GAA giant Joe McDonagh yesterday.
Friends, family and colleagues flocked to Mary Immaculate Queen Church in Bearna, Co Galway to pay their final respects.
In an emotional tribute, Ó Fearghail spoke of McDonagh's legacy.
"His was an incredible presidency because it was all about empowerment. He encouraged counties and clubs to stop moaning," he told the mourners.
The GAA president said McDonagh taught him what it takes to lead the GAA in the right direction.
"Get up and act, do it yourself, assistance is available where necessary from Croke Park but ultimately your destiny is in your own hands.
"He chaired a committee meeting in Croke Park just two weeks ago, looking after the needs of the rural clubs," said Mr Ó Fearghaíl.
McDonagh, who died after a short illness, aged 62, was laid to rest in the nearby Rahoon Cemetery following the requiem service.
Chief mourners included his wife Peig, son Eoin and daughters Muireann and Eilís. Also present were former team-mates from his days as a player with Galway, Ballindeereen, NUI Galway, Cortoon Shamrocks and Bearna.
Bishop of Achonry, Brendan Kelly, a colleague of Joe's at Coláiste Éinde in Salthill, where he taught Irish, was chief celebrant at the funeral Mass.
He was joined by Bearna parish priest Fr Des Forde and 10 other priests.
Joe McDonagh was president of the GAA between 1997 and 2000 and during his presidency he had the honour of presenting the Sam Maguire Cup to another Galway captain, Ray Silke, when they beat Kildare to win the All-Ireland in 1998.
As well as a career in the higher echelons of the GAA, McDonagh excelled as an inter-county hurler with his native Galway.