Former GAA President Paddy MacFlynn was described as “a gentleman” during his funeral service last Friday.
Hundreds of mourners packed into St Patrick’s and St Colman’s Church in Laurencetown to bid farewell to the veteran games administrator, who Tullylish Parish Priest Fr Gerald Powell said was “always generous and thoughtful” and a “loving person and dedicated teacher”.
The 95-year-old died peacefully at his Co Down home last Tuesday night after a short illness.
Originally from Magherafelt, Mr MacFlynn moved to Laurencetown with his wife Kathleen to take up a teaching post in Gilford in 1953.
A GAA stalwart, he served as County Secretary in Derry and later as treasurer in Co Down.
He was President of the GAA’s Ulster Council between the 1961 and 1963 and President of the National Association between 1979 and 1982.
Among those at requiem mass were Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell.
GAA figures in attendance included current President Liam O’Neill, former President Jack Boothman and Down great Dan McCartan.
Former President Mary McAleese was also among the mourners, while current President Michael D Higgins sent a representative.
Fr Powell said that Mr MacFlynn was dedicated to his faith and the association he served for nearly 80 years.
He joked that he had told him the secret to long life was “Flahavan’s porridge and red wine”.
Fr Powell told mourners, “Pat was totally devoted to you all – he was a rock,” and that those who loved him would “cherish his memory”.
He added that: “Pat set the example for other younger teachers to follow as someone who was very hospitable and performed quiet acts of charity without any fuss for those less fortunate.
“As a member of a very caring profession Pat is a great proof that Jesus the teacher is still alive and working among us.”
Gifts carried to the altar included a Gaelic football, an Irish and English dictionary, GAA tops and a copy of his recently published autobiography, Leading Through the Troubles - A Life in the GAA.