ONE of the most influential figures in GAA history, Seán McCague, has passed away at the age of 77.
McCague remains the only Monaghan native to serve as President of the Association, having been elected to a landslide victory in the Millenium year.
He was already firmly established as an icon of Ulster football at that juncture, leading his home club Scotstown and Monaghan through a period of significant success spanning the seventies and eighties (including three Ulster titles with Monaghan in 1979, 1985 and 1988).
His tenure as GAA President is most remembered for the removal of Rule 21, which banned members of the British security forces from playing GAA. He also convinced then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to pledge 76 million Euro towards the redevelopment of Croke Park (a figure that was later reduced to 38 million Euro), while the ‘qualifiers’ were also introduced under his watch.
While President, McCague revealed that he had donated a kidney to his brother Gabriel in 1981, stating:
“I found it easy. Maybe it was my age, I was just 36 at the time and I was married with five children.
“Obviously I took my wife’s concerns on board but I felt quite comfortable with going ahead with it.
“And I think everyone who has their health has a responsibility to help others in need.”