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Sadness at death of Galway football’s renaissance man

THERE has been an outpouring of sadness and grief this week at the passing of the man who masterminded the renaissance of Gaelic football in Galway during the county’s last glory period from 1998 to 2001.

Ballaghderreen and Kilmovee native, John O’Mahony (71), passed away on Saturday last, July 6, after battling with cancer for a number of years – he is survived by his wife Geraldine, five daughters and two brothers.

His Gaelic football managerial CV is one that’s unlikely to be equalled in the West, guiding Galway to two senior All-Ireland successes in 1998 and 2001, as well as Leitrim to a Connacht title success in 1994 – their first provincial crown in 67-years.

He was also manager of the Mayo team that reached their first All-Ireland final in 38-years – 1989 against Cork – and also had a second stint as manager of his native county when they won a Connacht title in 2009.

A teacher at St. Nathy’s College in Ballaghderreen, he won All-Ireland medals as a player with Mayo at under-age levels – minor in 1971 and under-21 in 1974 – but his biggest legacy to the GAA and sport was in management.

In his initial year as Galway football manager in 1998, he led the county to their first senior All-Ireland success since 1966, when they defeated the Mick O’Dwyer led Kildare by 1-14 to 1-10 in the final.

Although disappointment arrived the following year with a championship exit to Mayo in Tuam Stadium, Galway were back in the 2000 final, where they were eventually edged out by Kerry after a replay.

In the following summer of 2001, Galway had again to battle with adversity, exiting the Connacht championship at the hands of Roscommon also in Tuam, but in the first year of the ‘backdoor system’, John O’Mahony’s charges made full use of the ‘second chance’ going on to beat Meath in the All-Ireland final by 0-17 to 0-8.

Caption: The late John O’Mahony, pictured here in Pearse Stadium.

Read the full tribute to John O’Mahony in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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