Rest in Peace

Two illustrious former Mayo footballers passed away in recent days but their deaths, after long and fulfilled lives, have been overshadowed by the shocking and untimely death yesterday of 26 year-old Leitrim footballer Philly McGuinness.

John Forde of Ardnaree Sarsfields was, of course, a member of the 1950 and 1951 All-Ireland winning teams, where he formed part of a teak-tough full-back line alongside Paddy Prendergast and Sean Flanagan.  I’m not sure when he made his debut for the county but I know he was captain of the team in 1948 when we lost that year’s ‘Big Wind’ All-Ireland final to Cavan in highly controversial circumstances.  Following those two All-Ireland winning years, he continued to line out at corner back for the following three years where the county’s championship campaigns all ended at the Connacht final stage.  He did, however, win a league medal with the county in 1954.  John died on Sunday at the ripe old age of 89 and his funeral mass takes place this Thursday at St. Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina (details of the full funeral arrangements are available here).

Castlebar’s Mick Ruane played championship football for Mayo for a full decade, lining out first in 1959 and appearing every year from then until 1968.  It was his bad fortune to be in his prime during a period when the county tasted little success – indeed, it wasn’t until 1964 that he got to play in his first Connacht final and he tasted provincial final defeat to Galway both that year and again two years later before he finally won his first and only Connacht senior medal when we beat Leitrim in that year’s decider.  He lined out at full-forward that day, having played in the half-forwards earlier in the decade, and did so again in the All-Ireland semi-final the following month where the county went under to Meath.  His final championship appearance for the county was in the following year’s Connacht final, where once again he ended up on the losing side against Galway.  Mick died suddenly on Friday and he was buried yesterday.

Imminent death would, one suspects, have been the last thing on the mind of Leitrim inter-county footballer Philly McGuinness as he prepared to line out for his club Mohill in a league match against Melvin Gaels on Saturday but a freak accident during the game, where he banged his head against the knee of an opposing player, was the cause of his demise.  He passed away at Beaumont Hospital yesterday afternoon.  It’s a truly awful and shocking occurrence and one can only express deepest sympathies to his family and friends on their tragic and untimely loss.  Philly’s funeral mass also takes place at 11 am on Thursday (further details here).

May they Rest in Peace.

6 thoughts on “Rest in Peace

  1. A sad day indeed. The youtful Philly McGuinness, the middle aged Mick Ruane and the veteren Johnny Forde. Johnny played for Mayo in the 1945 Connacht final. He also won his first League medal in 1949. A marvellous player with an equally marvellous name.
    I saw Mick Ruane’s last game for Mayo. It was the Connacht final of 1968. The sun scorched and I tried to watch the match on my toes in the 40,000 plus crowd. On exiting the ground our sandles stuck in the melted tar. The Mayo team passed us on the way back to the hotel, boots in hand because the showers were not working in McHale Park. I recall a guy called Willie McGee playing at 13 that day. He then took Micks number 14 spot there-after and did a handsome job of it too. A dheis Dé ar a chuid ainm uasil ulig.

  2. P.S I feel like a kid running home with a bit of news. Seemingly the entire managment of the ladies(county) senior team have resigned. As the men ascend the women (once the envy of the nation) are starting to decend. Seems as if its not just male county boards that run on to the rocks.

  3. my prayer are with both families of John Forde & Mick Ruane. There only a few of that great team of 1950’s alive. They give there heart and soul to county and clubs they will be greatly missed.
    Mayo ladies board need to get it act together it is constantly changing.

  4. Sad week in world of GAA. Mayo lose two greats and Leitrim lose a rising star. May the Rest in Peace.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the starting 15 this weekend. I don’t think there will be any change from the game in Cork.

  5. may the souls of forde ruane and mcguinness
    rest in peace i watched mick ruane play number
    14 for mayo in the sixtys big strong man
    happy memorys

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