Saturday 10 December 2016

Death of former GAA President Joe McDonagh

Ryan Nugent

Published 21/05/2016 | 02:30

Joe McDonagh. SPORTSFILE
Joe McDonagh. SPORTSFILE

Former GAA President Joe McDonagh has died aged 63, following a short illness.

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He was the 32nd president of the voluntary organisation, taking the reigns between 1997 and 2000.

Mr McDonagh's death was confirmed late last night by the GAA and comes just over a week after the death of another former President, Jack Boothman.

Mr Boothman preceded McDonagh's tenure as chief of the association between 1994 and 1997.

Mr McDonagh had actually run against Mr Boothman for the previous presidency, aged 39, but narrowly lost out.

Mr McDonagh's death has been described by the GAA as "deeply regretted by family, friends and GAA community".

The Galway native played right wing-back for the Tribesmen during a hurling career that saw him win a National League title in 1975, an All-Star in 1976 and an All-Ireland senior title in 1980.

He made 15 appearances for his county's senior team, including captaining Galway in the 1979 All-Ireland final, which they lost to rivals, Kilkenny.

After years of heartache, McDonagh celebrated the title win in 1980 over Limerick, giving a famous rendition of 'The West's Awake' from the Hogan Stand in Croke Park, shortly after his captain, Joe Connolly collected the Liam McCarthy Cup.

He also won a Fitzgibbon Cup title while representing University College Galway in 1977.

Former Mayo footballer and Off the Ball pundit on Newstalk, David Brady led the tributes to the former president.

"Saddened to hear of passing of Joe McDonagh, Uachtarán CLG 1997-2000, Gave a speech in Burlington hotel in 1997 I will never forget," he said.

Mr McDOnagh was a renowned orator and was fluent in the Irish language.

At the time of his election in 1997, he worked as Adult Education Officer promoting the language.

Irish Independent

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