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Micheál was a true gentleman

Back in 2009, I had reason to call the late Micheál McGeary. I thought it was going to end in a big disagreement - a tetchy conversation that could easily end up with either of us slamming the phone down.

How wrong was I? I soon realised that he was as uncomfortable as I was with conflict. We both backed off and said we would see each other around.

The very next time I spotted Micheál he came over wearing a smile almost beatific. Within seconds of talking to him, his concern for other people and ability to see the bigger picture was almost Zen-like.

If one word has been used frequently since his passing and subsequent funeral on Monday, it is 'gentle'.

A gentleman. A gentle soul. He had a real gentleness about him.

As Tony Scullion said after the Dr McKenna Cup final - unprompted it should be added - "What a gentleman. A man who I have the utmost respect for. He was about in my time reporting on matches and in the press, giving his comments. He interviewed me a few times, I got to know him and he was a great friend of mine.

"He was a great, great man and the world will be a worse place without him."

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The press boxes of Ulster will miss his presence, his way with younger colleagues, his wit and that charming, disarming smile.


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