Leitrim’s Ulster-based football team management duo Mickey Moran and John Morrison have led the tributes to Philip McGuinness, a high-profile member of the side, who died yesterday after receiving an accidental blow to the head during a game on Sunday.
McGuinness (26) had been assisting his club Mohill against Melvin Gaels in a league tie when he fell and struck his head off an opponent’s knee. He was rushed to Sligo General Hospital from where he was transferred to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin where he subsequently passed away.
He had given sterling service to Leitrim and lined out against Limerick in a crucial National Football League Division Four tie on Sunday week last which saw Limerick gain entry top this Saturday’s divisional final against Waterford.
A wholehearted, enthusiastic competitor McGuinness was an anchor in the Leitrim side and was also an accomplished hurler having gained inter-county status in this code as well. His death had stunned the entire county.
Moran, who formerly managed Derry, Donegal and Sligo, said the player had represented the very heartbeat of the GAA in his county.
“His untimely death in such tragic circumstances is an awful blow for his mother and brothers and all those who knew him and played with him,” said Moran.
Morrison, who accompanied Moran to the McGuinness home last night, revealed that Philip was one of the most experienced players in the Leitrim squad and had been the ideal role model for others.
“His passing is a devastating blow for his entire family circle. The entire GAA community is united in grief at this time. Our hearts go out to the McGuinness family,” said Morrison, the former Antrim manager.
GAA President Christy Cooney led the tributes on behalf of the entire Association while the Leitrim county board also imparted sympathy to the McGuinness family.
The Leitrim board statement said that Philip had made an enormous contribution to the county's football and hurling stock and that he will be sadly missed.