Tributes pouring in for late Fermanagh boss Pat King
Tributes have been paid to former Tyrone footballer and Fermanagh manager Pat King after he passed away in the early hours of yesterday at home in Lisnaskea.
King had battled a short illness with cancer.
As a player, King was centre-forward for the Tyrone team that won the 1973 Ulster Championship, beating Down 3-13 to 1-11 in the final.
He also picked up five Tyrone senior Championships during Trillick's most illustrious spell in the '70s and '80s, being captain for their O'Neill Cup triumph in 1983 and winning his final one at the age of 39 in 1986.
After moving to Lisnaskea having taken up a teaching position in St Eugene's, Roslea, King won a Fermanagh Championship as a veteran player for Lisnaskea Emmets in 1994 alongside sons Shane and Barry.
He went on to manage Fermanagh, leading them to two All-Ireland B titles and a McKenna Cup in 1997, defeating his native Tyrone on a rain-sodden day in Clones.
He brought that side from one that had not won a game in seven years in Ulster to the brink of an Ulster final in 2000. Raymond Gallagher was one of the high-profile figures of that team and paid warm tribute to his memory, saying: "I can't speak highly enough of him, he turned around the fortunes of Fermanagh football. It's no coincidence that that was the case.
"We had a good core of players coming through at that time, but Pat brought a very professional and sensible approach to the thing. Because he played with Trillick and Tyrone, he would have been well respected as well."
He continued: "I had the odd difference of opinion with him but I always had a lot of respect for him. He was a total gentleman, you knew where you stood with him.
"I met him many times since and would have chatted to him every time we met. I have very fond memories of that time playing under him."
Former Tyrone player Patsy Hetherington, who played in the same half-forward line as King in that 1973 Ulster final, added: "Pat was always a gentleman footballer. Nobody would say a bad word about him.
"Whenever you met him after your football days he was always the same Pat King. He never ran anyone down. He was a tidy footballer, not really aggressive but did the simple things really well. He would have been a gentleman to manage."
His funeral will be held tomorrow at 11am at Holy Cross Chapel, Lisnaskea.