Saturday 24 August 2019

Derry GAA in mourning following passing of former intercounty manager Frank Kearney

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Derry GAA are mourning the loss of former intercounty manager Frank Kearney.

Kearney passed away peacefully on Thursday morning at Antrim Area hospital after succumbing to a long suffering illness. The 77-year-old leaves behind his wife Philomena and his children Aidan, Jarlath, Olcan and Sinead.

Kearney led Derry to back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976 and was also a selector for the intercounty side in 1998.

The Derry GAA county board commemorated Kearney's life with a statement on their website:

"Derry GAA are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Frank Kearney. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Philomena, daughter Sinéad, sons Aidan, Olcán and Jarlath, his wider family circle and all at Watty Graham’s GAA, Glen.

"Our back to back Ulster SFC winning manager in 1975-1976, a selector in 1998, Frank Kearney was the general for a supremely talented generation of Derry footballers. An innovative and forward thinking coach, Kearney’s influence over the modern history of Derry football is massive.

"Frank was also responsible for the design of our county crest, a symbol he loved and cherished.

"A giant of Watty Graham’s and Derry GAA, Frank will be very sorely missed. However, his legacy will live on for generations to come on the pitches, club rooms and communities of the Oak Leaf County.

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"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam."

Watty Graham’s GAA chairman Sean Keane also paid his respects to Kearney who he described as a 'fantastic' and 'joyous' man.

"He was a legend of the club and he will never be forgotten," said Keane.

"He was never away from the football pitch, every match from underage to senior, he was there giving advice.

"He was a fantastic man and put his hand to everything that was going on in the club and he will be very, very sadly missed. I don't know how we'll replace him.

"I've known Frankie for the last 20 years and we had a fantastic relationship. He had a word for everyone, a joyous man and was always very, very positive. A famous statement of Frankie's that he'd say eveywhere he went was 'onwards and upwards'.

"When you were speaking with him that's what he'd say to you when you were finished speaking with him; onwards and upwards; and that was known throughout the length and breadth of Derry."

Kearney's funeral mass will take place from 11am at St Patrick’s church in Glen, Co. Derry on Saturday November 25. The family have strictly asked for no flowers, however, donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Macmillan Cancer care c/o of the family.

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