Derry GAA pay tribute to a ‘supporter and true friend’

Tom McGuinness and his brother Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness pictured in 2013 with the oldest piece of silverware in the history of the GAA in Derry, the 1891 County Championship Cup. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 15.5.13
Tom McGuinness and his brother Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness pictured in 2013 with the oldest piece of silverware in the history of the GAA in Derry, the 1891 County Championship Cup. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 15.5.13

Derry GAA have expressed their “deepest sympathy” to the family of Martin McGuinness.

The local GAA have said that Mr McGuinness’ passing yesterday was “a sad day for Derry and a sad day for Ireland”.

In a statement, Derry GAA said: “Brother of our former senior footballer, Tom McGuinness, Martin was a supporter and true friend of Derry GAA, who rarely missed a game at Celtic Park.

“In March 2013, Martin McGuinness spoke of his great pride at seeing GAA Congress visit his city and county for the first time.

“Hosted on the Ebrington site, linked from one side of our city to another via the Peace Bridge, McGuinness addressed Gaels from five continents, saying: ‘The greatest asset of the GAA is its people and your contribution is greatly appreciated.’

“We would like to return our appreciation today by sincerely thanking Martin McGuinness for his role in creating what we are confident will be a bright, brand new day for all of our people.”

Cumann Lúthchleas Gael meanwhile has expressed its sympathies to the family of Mr McGuinness.

Uachtarán Aogán Ó Fearghail said: “On behalf of the wider GAA Family we would like to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to the family of Martin, most notably his wife Bernie, his children and grandchildren and the extended McGuinness family following his sad passing after his brief illness.

“Martin was a proud Derry man and a regular attendee at our games, whether it was at Celtic Park, other venues across Ulster or indeed around Ireland, including of course Croke Park.

“He worked tirelessly in recent decades for the betterment of all and the improvement to life on this island over that time, most notably in the north, is testament to his efforts.

“His influence and charisma will be sorely missed.

“Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas síoraí dá anam.”

Mr McGuinness was a huge GAA fan, who was offered a trial with Derry minors as a youth but he never turned up.

He was a regularly seen at Celtic Park, and his brother Tom was hailed as one of the best footballers during his distinguished career with Derry.

GAA and local soccer players have been among those paying tribute to Mr McGuinness on social media following his death.