There is sadness at the passing of Derry GAA legend and great sportsman Jim McKeever.
Jim was aged 92.
A native of Ballymaguigan, Jim captained Derry in the county’s first All-Ireland Final appearance in 1958, losing to Dublin, and won the first Footballer of the Year award the same year.
McKeever later managed Derry’s senior team and served as chairman of the county board.
In a statement, Derry GAA described McKeever as a “modest yet iconic leader” and a “natural sportsman”.
“Whether as an educator or as a midfielder he led by example.
“Jim actively encouraged people to use their talents and be the best they could be. Any team with Jim McKeever in it was a better team.
“Jim had a natural warmth and innate kindness which meant people gravitated towards him. He was affectionately known across Ireland as Gentleman Jim.
“When Jim spoke people listened because they appreciated he was a man of immense experience and integrity.
“Jim’s life was one of service to others.
“He realised whether in his club, community or county he was part of something bigger as part of the GAA.”
McKeever captained Belfast school St Malachy’s to MacRory Cup titles in 1948 and 1949.
In addition to playing for Derry, McKeever represented Ulster in the Railway Cup and also led St Mary’s University College, where he was a lecturer, to a maiden Sigerson Cup success in 1989.
Derry GAA Chairman John Keenan said: “Jim McKeever was an affable man and a leader. It’s an honour to walk in his footsteps.”Tags: