Wicklow ladies manager Mick O’Rourke has paid tribute to Louth coach Micheál McKeown, who passed away this week following a short illness.
McKeown (67) passed away on Tuesday in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda after falling ill last weekend.
The Louth LGFA released a statement confirming the news on Tuesday, saying: “A Chara, it is with great regret that I bring you the sad news of the untimely passing of Micheal McKeown Louth LGFA Senior Team manager today.
“We pass our condolences to his wife Mary, his family circle, and his many friends at this very sad time.”
McKeown guided Louth to the national league division four football final, where they played Mick O’Rourke’s Wicklow side.
Reflecting on McKeown’s passing, O’Rourke paid tribute to the Channonrock native — who he described as an “absolute gentleman”.
“The last time I met him would have been the national league final. He was an absolutely lovely man who always had time for ladies football.
“Win, lose, or draw he was always a man who would meet you on the sideline for a hand-shake and a chat.”
Louth LGFA President Marie Hickey led the tributes to McKeown yesterday. In a statement, she said: “All of us at the Ladies Gaelic Football Association are deeply saddened, having learned of Mícheál’s untimely passing.
“Mícheál was a much-loved character with LGFA circles and renowned as an outstanding coach.
“Mícheál’s coaching prowess also had a profound effect on a number of clubs and the benefits of his work will be felt for many years to come.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to Mícheál’s wife Mary, his wider family, and many friends at this very sad time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
Speaking on behalf of the Louth players, captain Kate Flood said: “We were all very proud to have Mícheál as our manager.
“He was an absolute gentleman and while he was only with us for a short time as manager, he brought us to a League final and we were so honoured to have known him.
“He had a massive impact on us through football, and also on a personal level.”
The funeral of Micheál McKeown will take place on Saturday the 9th of June in St. Etna’s Church in Kilanny.