Tributes have been pouring in following the death in the City Hospital at the weekend after a short illness of Sean McGettigan, a legendary figure in Belfast and Antrim GAA circles. He was 93 and had been pre-deceased by his wife Lily 21 years ago.
Born in Armagh, he represented his native county and Antrim at senior football level and served as Antrim vice-chairman and PRO as well as his outstanding service to the O’Donovan Rossa club.
It was in the late 40s and early 50s that Sean was part of a committee that purchased and developed the site on which Casement Park was constructed. The official opening of the ground in 1953 proved a milestone in the history of Antrim and Ulster GAA.
So successful indeed was the committee’s fund-raising drive that sufficient money remained to construct the impressive facilities at Shaw’s Road which are still used today by the Rossa, St Paul’s and Sarsfields clubs.
If Sean’s vision, energy and commitment underpinned his skills as an administrator, then these same qualities again came to the surface when he proved one of the most able and prolific GAA writers that the province has ever produced.
Even up until a few weeks ago he was still furnishing match results and reports to national outlets including Independent News and Media and RTE. It was in the 1950’s that he was appointed a GAA correspondent with the BBC and went on to become the voice of the sport in Ulster. He wrote and published many periodicals and magazines and contributed to the Belfast Telegraph.
In 2003 he was accorded the prestigious Services to GAA award by the Ulster GAA Writers Association in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the sport that spanned over seven decades.
His funeral takes place today to St Anne’s, Dunmurry. Sincere sympathy is extended to his sons Hugh and John and daughters Kate, Maire and Fiona.