Monday 23 October 2017

Death of Meath legend and International Rules pioneer McDermott

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

On the same day that the ninth International Rules manager Anthony Tohill announced the majority of his squad, the pioneer of the first link between the GAA and AFL passed away.

Meath legend Peter McDermott, widely referred to as the "man in the cap," passed away early yesterday morning aged 93.

McDermott had a decorated career as player, administrator, referee and coach in a lifetime of involvement with the GAA.

He was on the first ever Meath team to win the All-Ireland title, playing at corner-forward in the 1949 final as Cavan's three-in-a-row bid was thwarted. Five years later, he captained the Royal county to their second All-Ireland success, this time beating Kerry in the final.

He served as secretary, captain and team selector that year and -- remarkably -- he had refereed the previous year's All-Ireland final between Kerry and Armagh.

Two years later he took charge of the All-Ireland final decider between Galway and Cork.

In a playing career which spanned from 1940 to 1955 he became the first Meath man to win six Leinster titles.

Down took McDermott on board in an advisory capacity as they won All-Ireland titles in 1960 and '61, and when Meath won a third All-Ireland in 1967 he was a selector.

Just weeks after that victory, McDermott took a call from the Aer Lingus' Dermot McKeever asking him about the possibility of Meath taking on a visiting AFL selection in a game under AFL rules.

McDermott presented a team in Croke Park which lost by 3-16 to 1-10 before 23,149 people. For the return visit, McDermott was fundraiser and organiser-in-chief for Meath as they beat the Australians.

He became the first International Rules manager for the 1984 visit. Australia won the series 2-1.

In 1989 he entered the GAA's Hall of Fame and up to his death he served as president of Meath GAA. He was also involved with Navan O'Mahony's for much of his life.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport