PETE McGrath has spoken of his massive respect for Ulster GAA Chief Executive and Provincial Secretary Danny Murphy who died yesterday at the age of 67 following a battle with illness.
Mr Murphy was due to step down from the role in February next year having announced his retirement back in August.
The Down man had a close association with McGrath’s All-Ireland winning sides of 1991 and ’94 as he was county chairman for the first and a selector for the second.
“Danny was a truly great man in so many ways,” said McGrath.
“He played a very pivotal role for Down in ’91 as chairman of the county board. It was his first year as chairman and it was Down’s first All-Ireland final in 23 years.
“His role, particularly as the campaign went on, involved keeping a lid on things and providing guidance and leadership.
“That was apparent particularly when we qualified for the final because there was a five-week gap between the semi-final and the final and the county had to be led in a certain way. Danny ensured that all of that was done.
“By the time ’94 came around his term as chairman was up and we just felt that given his association with the players, it would have been an awful pity to lose him.
“I always respected and appreciated his view of football and his qualities as a person would always be very important in terms of being able to assess players and being able to contribute to the running of the team in so many ways.”
Mr Murphy had led the provincial council from 1997 and oversaw its modernisation whilst he was also the GAA’s Vice-President from 1998 to 2001.
He was noted for breaking down barriers, reaching out to communities traditionally not associated with the GAA, whilst he was also an oracle for clubs looking for direction on how to improve their facilities.
He battled hard to secure funding for the Casement Park Project and recently spoke of his disappointment of the roadblocks that had slowed down the building of the new stadium.
Overall, McGrath felt that he had left a massive imprint on the GAA not only in Ulster, but further afield too.
“The work that he did across the whole spectrum of Gaelic affairs in this province was excellent,” he said.
“That included what was going in colleges, clubs, county level and in the whole area of community relations and building bridges.