THE Death of Kieran ‘Jap’ Finlay this week has left the GAA community in Ireland in mourning.
The former Ballybay and Monaghan forward died on Tuesday following an illness.
In a statement released by the county board, Monaghan manager Eamonn McEneaney said: “Kieran was a tremendous footballer and in more recent years a very competent golfer.
“He has been a good friend for many years and was only too willing to help in any way he could with regard to the Monaghan senior team.
“He will be greatly missed in footballing and golfing circles and I will miss him as a friend. He spoke his mind and was always mindful of the greater good for all. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at the current time as they will miss him most. Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dilis.”
The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow morning at St Patrick’s Church Ballybay at 11am, and he will be buried afterwards.
Finlay played for the Farney county in the 1970s and ‘80s and his score of 1-9 in the 1979 Ulster Senior Football Championship final victory over Donegal was a record that lasted for 20 years, until it was broken by Armagh’s Oisín McConville.
He also won an Ulster title in 1985, an NFL medal in the same year and four Dr McKenna Cups.
During that time he also played senior championship club football with his club, Ballybay. He won senior club player of the year in 1983.
But it was in 1987 that he would achieve his greatest success with Ballybay, when they won the senior championship title, beating Monaghan Harps in the final after a replay.After he stopped playing, he continued to be an active member of his club, and was involved in the centenary celebrations in 2006, and the work on their new facilities.
Kieran’s son Paul is a key member of the current Monaghan panel. Last year he was, on average, the best scorer in Ulster.
However he has yet to win an Ulster title like his father, and in 2008, Paul admitted that he was eager to emulate his father’s achievements on the playing field.
“He was part of a decent Monaghan side but I would like to think that we are capable of winning the Ulster title.”