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Tyrone GAA in tribute to Pat Darcy, former chairman and driving force

Tributes have been paid to former Tyrone GAA chairman Pat Darcy, who has died following a short illness.

Mr Darcy, who passed away on Tuesday night, served as county chairman from 2004 to 2009 - an unprecedented period of success for Tyrone, during which time they won two All-Ireland football titles, an All-Ireland Minor title and a Lory Meagher Cup.

Mr Darcy was also an outspoken opponent of the Gaelic Players Association and took a strong stance against official recognition being granted to the players' body back in 2007 ahead of Government grants being awarded to inter-county players.

After stepping down as chairman, he served as Tyrone's representative for the Ulster Council, and until his passing was the chairman of the Tyrone camogie county board.

In his professional life he was a professor of nursing at Ulster University and published several books on the subjects of nursing and mental health.

Roisin Jordan, who joined the Tyrone County Board during Mr Darcy's tenure, paid warm tribute to a man she considered a mentor.

"People had great respect for him. To me, he was just a true Gael, a gentleman and a very good friend," she began. "He was chairman and Ciaran McLaughlin was vice-chairman when I came onto the CCC. He was a person you could talk to and he would give you his advice, his thoughts on it.

"He left you with something to think about. Just somebody you could bounce things off."

Mr Darcy was the major force behind the reformation of the Tattyreagh club and held all positions of office, along with conducting his duties as a referee. He later became team manager and oversaw their rise to Intermediate football in the late '90s.

He was also a strong community activist and played a leading role advocating the building of the A5 dual carriageway in recent years, to link Derry with the border at Aughnacloy on the Tyrone-Monaghan border.

The Tyrone county board said in an official statement: "It is with deep regret that Coiste Chontae Thir Eoghain have learned of the death of former county chairman Pat Darcy.

"On behalf of the officials and members of the county committee and our clubs we extend our deepest sympathy to his children Claire, Sean, Sarah and Louise, his grandchildren, his brothers and sisters and his large family circle."

Ms Jordan added to this sentiments, commenting: "Pat was a quiet man, he always went about his business and he never made any fuss. He just was that type of person that came in and did his business. He had time for people and I have to say he was a great-all-rounder."

Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Sacred Heart Church in Omagh at 10am today.

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