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Colm McGurk: All-Ireland winner remembered for ‘unbreakable spirit and legacy’ following Derry man’s death


Colm McGurk.

Colm McGurk.

Colm McGurk.

Tributes have been paid to All-Ireland winner Colm ‘Collie’ McGurk who passed away on Tuesday.

Mr McGurk was part of Derry’s All-Ireland senior winning panel of 1993, two years after playing at corner forward as Lavey beat Salthill to secure the All-Ireland football title.

More recently, he managed Derry hurlers to the Nickey Rackard Cup and Ulster Under-21 titles in 2017. He was the current Lavey minor hurling manager.

Erin's Own Lavey GAA led condolences saying it was “deeply saddened” to learn of the passing of Mr McGurk.

The club added that their thoughts and prayers were with his wife, Sinéad, daughters Orla, Aoife and Méabh, his son John, and the entire McGurk family.

“The words 'Collie has passed' has spread across our community today,” Paddy Chivers, chairman of Erin's Own, Lavey said in a statement.

“In his playing career Collie McGurk won four Derry senior football championship medals, 12 senior hurling championship medals, two Ulster club football championship medals and one All-Ireland club championship medal.

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“With QUB, Collie won a Sigerson medal and was selected on the combined universities hurling team. With Derry, Collie McGurk won Ulster and All-Ireland football championship medals and Ulster hurling championship medals.

“However, despite being an All-Ireland winner with club and county, Collie McGurk represents something greater than sport and Gaelic games. With his insatiable spirit, energy and lust for life, Collie McGurk was not made for defeat in any walk of life.

“No challenge, big or small, ever went unmet and his focus was always on the next challenge, the next task. On tomorrow.”

He added: “Having managed Derry senior hurlers, Collie was currently guiding a group of young Lavey minor hurlers on a path he had journeyed, playing a game he had so much passion for.

“Director of an award-winning firm of architects, Collie McGurk literally transformed the modern landscape of our club, our community and many similar communities throughout Ulster and Ireland.

“No words will ever do justice to the life and memory of Colm McGurk, but we must try. A brave, generous, determined, talented, kind, altruistic, inspirational and loving man with an irresistible life force has left us.

“His unbreakable spirit and legacy of service to his family, community and county will endure.”

Hundreds of people paid their respects including Gerard Magee who said like many Gaels across Ireland, he was “shocked and saddened” by the news.

He praised Mr McGurk for being one of the very first people who visited what later became Dunsilly GAA Grounds in Antrim.

“Collie walked the site in February 2006 along with Jeremiah Holyoake and myself. Within days he produced professional architect drawings of how the Dunsilly site would look with GAA pitches. He gave our dreams visibility – an illustration which we could show to others,” Mr Magee continued.

“As the project gained momentum, Collie McGurk's drawings were regularly used in presentations and negotiations with the Ulster Council GAA and Croke Park.

"This case was sold, and the multimillion pound capital development of Dunsilly GAA Grounds got underway thereafter.

“Collie McGurk (RIP) played his part.”

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