Down GAA has lost one of its favourite sons with the passing of John Murphy at the Southern Area Hospice in Newry yesterday.
As a player, coach and manager, Murphy made a huge impact within the Mourne county. He sprang to prominence in the 1968 All-Ireland final against Kerry when his eighth-minute goal, Down's second of the match, underpinned an emphatic 2-7 to 0-5 interval advantage before the side ran out winners by 2-12 to 1-13 to collect the Sam Maguire Cup for the third time.
His All-Ireland influence extended into the 90's when he was Peter McGrath's right-hand man as Down swept to further titles in 1991 and 1994. A pillar of the Newry Shamrocks club, he rendered outstanding service as a player and official before going on to manage the Mayobridge side that dominated the Down senior championship in the Noughties.
Up until recently, John never missed a game in which Down were involved at Pairc Esler where he was a familiar figure in his seat high up in the stand with 1994 All-Ireland captain DJ Kane by his side.
John's funeral cortege will arrive at Páirc Esler today at 1.30pm for a short tribute which will reflect his dedication to Newry Shamrocks and Down GAA. Those neighbours and friends who wish to pay their respects are welcome to attend as long as they adhere to the two-metre social distancing restriction.
Sincere sympathy is extended to John's wife Veronica, sons Gavin and Karl, daughters Niamh and Fiona and the family circle.