Popular Gael is laid to rest

The late Gary Murphy
The late Gary Murphy

The tragic and sudden death at the weekend of popular Lurgan Gael Gary Murphy has shocked the town.

So popular was the 35-year-old Clann Eireann man that hundreds packed his North Circular Road home for his wake and gathered for his funeral on Tuesday at St Peter’s Church.

Gary died suddenly on Saturday morning after a short illness at Craigavon Hospital. The news sent shockwaves throughout the town and particularly at his beloved club Clann Eireann which was hosting the Marie Hoy and Caitriona McKeag Tournament.

Born and reared just yards from Clann Eireann’s playing fields, Gary was destined to be part of the club and certainly shone throughout his gaelic football career.

A former pupil of Tannaghmore, St Paul’s and St Michael’s he excelled, both academically and in sports. He won countless medals in both soccer and gaelic. At university he studied accounts and worked at Terex in Dungannon.

His greatest loves were his family, friends and his club. From age six he went to Clann Eireann GAA club.

He was a terrific player and though he had put his playing days behind him, he remained immersed in the club and its activities. He was a positive influence on generations of players, particularly the up and coming youth and regularly offered words of advice and encouragement. Gary transcended all generations and felt comfortable in the company of young and old.

Gary had talent. He played for Armagh minors in 1997. He was on the side of the McLarnon Cup finalists for St Michael’s in 1995 and in 2002 had a double win with the Intermediate Championship and the Division Two League. More recently he moved into coaching and was very influential in the squad. His family and friends have been encouraged by the outpouring of respect for Gary throughout the county and beyond. Even from his hospital bed on Friday evening he was discussing the weekend fixtures and tactics.

Gary was a man who loved the craic. He had a gregarious personality and was the life and soul of the party. He had an abundance of friends and his regular post on Facebook every Friday ‘Welcome to the weekend’ was eagerly awaited. People were glad to see him coming into their company as the craic was guaranteed.

Gary is survived by his mother Cecilia, father Arthur and sister Christina. His funeral was on Tuesday at St Peter’s Church with interment at St Colman’s Cemetery.