The death has occurred of Seán McCague, who was of the GAA’s most influential presidents. Serving in office from 2000 to 2003, his term was the culmination of decades of involvement with Gaelic games.
If the achievement for which he is best remembered is the sure-footed leadership that brought about the deletion of Rule 21 – the controversial ban on members of the British and Northern Ireland security from joining the GAA – McCague had a long and distinguished engagement with the association at all levels.
He had chaired the old Croke Park Games Administration Committee and had made a name as a firm disciplinarian, a reputation he used to say would guarantee that he would never become president.
Born in 1945, the Monaghan teacher from Scotstown was one of the few presidents to have had top-class experience of managing teams, having guided Monaghan to bridge a 41-year gap by winning the Ulster championship in 1979.
Six years later he led his county to its national league title and added the provincial title, going on to come very close to a huge upset in the All-Ireland semi-final by drawing with Mick O’Dwyer’s Kerry but they lost the replay.
In the interim he had been the late Eugene McGee’s assistant in both 1987 and the successful international rules series of 1990.
As an administrator, he served as Monaghan county secretary, Ulster Council delegate and also delegate to the GAA’s Central Council. He was also appointed chair of the Games Administration Committee in 1991 before being elected president at the annual congress of 1999.
He is survived by his wife Bernie and daughters, Paula, Nuala, Martha, Freda and Emma.