Tributes paid to ‘quiet warrior’ Ulster GAA secretary Danny Murphy

December 12, 2016

Emotional tributes flooded in for Ulster GAA secretary, Danny Murphy, who died last week at the age of 67.

Mr Murphy had stood down from his role earlier this year due to ill health, announcing that he would officially retire in February 2017.

He was an esteemed player with St. Mary’s, Burren and he also hurled for both Rostrevor and Warrenpoint during the latter part of his sporting career.

The Burren clubman’s sporting prowess led to a lengthy administrative career in GAA, beginning with his appointment to the Down County Board as a club delegate in 1981.

Over the next 35 years with the Ulster Council, Mr Murphy held every officership, serving as treasurer, vice president and president.  He served as head of the provincial council for 16 years and had the unique distinction of being the only person to have held the roles of Ulster Council secretary and president at the same time.

Mr Murphy was a selector with Down when the team won the All-Ireland in 1991.

Ulster Council president Michael Hasson described Danny as “an outstanding leader who provided unstinting dedication to the GAA in Ulster for over 35 years.”

“His contribution to every aspect of the GAA, from his initial involvement with St Mary’s GAC, Burren, his beloved County Down and his immense commitment to Comhairle Uladh brought unprecedented success to every unit of the Association he was involved in,” he added.

“It was very fitting that Danny’s leadership was honoured earlier this year by the First Minister, Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness at Stormont in recognition of his efforts in promoting reconciliation, tolerance and respect across all communities.’’

SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty said, “Danny Murphy was a giant in the world of Gaelic games, both in Ulster and across the globe. He was an outstanding administrator, and a man of integrity and of vision.  He was a great Irishman.’

“Danny was a quiet warrior, a man who got things done without fuss, a man who brought people along with him. His fingerprints are all over everything that is great about the GAA in Ulster and further afield.’

Newry & Armagh MP Mickey Brady extended his sympathies to Mr Murphy’s family, friends and his fellow gaels of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael.

“Danny Murphy was a committed GAA activist all his life and his various roles throughout that packed life has helped not only the Association but our communities in general,” said the Sinn Féin MP.

His colleague Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy echoed his sentiments.

“I am genuinely sorry to learn of the death of Danny. His leadership, vision, dedication and integrity earned the highest of respect from us all. He also worked in a quiet but focused way to help in the areas of reconciliation and healing. He will be widely missed by us all. Deepest sympathies to his family.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said Mr Murphy was “a powerful force for reconciliation on the island of Ireland, and between Britain and Ireland.”

“He made an enormous contribution to the professionalism of the GAA in Ulster.

She described him as “a stalwart figure and the public face of Ulster GAA for many years,” adding that she had “great respect for his professionalism and integrity in his work.”

“Danny was a great gentleman and he will be missed in GAA circles and beyond.”

A host of GAA dignitaries and political representatives joined with family and friends in bidding a final farewell to the highly regarded Mr Murphy at his funeral Mass which took place on Saturday, 10th December in St Mary’s Church, Burren.

Mr Murphy’s Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s Church, Burren, on Saturday at noon.

Shuttle buses were in operation from Pairc Esler, Newry, and Milltown Industrial Estate in Burren between 2pm and 10pm on Thursday and Friday to facilitate the sheer number of people wishing to attend Mr. Murphy’s wake.

The village of Burren came to a standstill on Saturday as huge numbers of mourners thronged the streets to St. Mary’s Church for Requiem Mass at noon, with GAA dignitaries, sportsmen and women and political representatives joining with family and friends in bidding a final farewell to the much-loved GAA stalwart.