Death of Joe McDonagh R.I.P.
“There is widespread shock and sadness across the entire G.A.A. World, on the sudden death of our esteemed former President, Joe McDonagh”, stated Galway County G.A.A. Chairman, Noel Treacy, in a statement issued to-day, by Galway County G.A.A. Board.
“Our Association has lost one of it’s most affable, popular and versatile Members. Joe McDonagh was an outstanding man and his loss is immeasurable” he stated.
Joe McDonagh first came to public notice as a stylish Under-age Hurler in the Coisde Iomána Divisional Games of the late ‘60’s. Graduating to the County Minor Team in 1970, he played at centre-half-forward against Cork, in the All-Ireland Final. Two years later, he was wing-back, when Galway won its first All-Ireland Under-21 Final in 1972. He moved onto the Senior Team, winning a National Hurling League Medal in 1975 and was on the Team beaten by Kilkenny, in the 1975 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final.
In the interim years, he played both Fitzgibbon and Sigerson with N.U.I.G., before going on to become the Galway Captain, in the 1979 All-Ireland Senior Final. A year later, he was part of the great Galway Team, in the breakthrough year of 1980 and we will never forget his rendition of the ‘West’s Awake’, after the presentation of the McCarthy Cup to Joe Connolly on the Hogan Stand. He also won two Railway Cup Medals with Connacht.
He played Club Hurling with Ballindereen, winning a County Junior Medal with them and only last week, he gave his final public oration at Lá na gClub there. An accomplished Footballer, he first played for Cortoon Shamrocks and later with Barna, where he has lived over four decades.
A talented Teacher, he went into Administration in the 1990’s, later becoming the first ever Director General of Foras na Gaeilge, the first North-South Body established under the Good Friday Agreement. Later he became C.E.O. of Galway County V.E.C. and finally of the Mayo-Sligo-Leitrim Education Board, from which he retired last year.
Off the Field, Joe McDonagh was as equally adept as on the Field. He was both a Scór Competitor and Administrator for many years. He rose through the ranks to become our National President in 1997 and played a major role in the development of our Association at National and International levels.
A man with a brilliant mind, an Orator and Singer, he entertained many and often. A distinguished Graduate and a multi-Linguist, his sudden passing leaves a deep void in our Association.
We express our deepest sympathy to his wife Peig, his Children Eoin, Muireann and Éilis, his sister Eilish, his wider Family and his many heart broken Friends.
Fear don céad scoth ab ea Joe McDonagh. Duine speisialta, fíor-Gael agus Gaelgóir iontach agus Captaen agus Ceannaire cróga ab ea é. Ní bheidh a leithéad arís ann.
Ar Dheis Lámh Dé go raibh anam uasal Joe McDonagh.
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