Roscommon ‘colossus’ Gerry O’Malley passes away
He wore the Roscommon jersey with distinction from 1947 through to 1964
Gerry O’Malley: “He was an inspiration to any team, and a football colossus.”
Roscommon “colossus” Gerry O’Malley has passed away aged 87 - with county board chairman Seamus Sweeney leading the tributes to arguably the county’s greatest ever player.
O’Malley represented Roscommon and Connacht in both hurling and football, during a senior intercounty career which stretched almost twenty years.
“Gerry was a good friend to Roscommon GAA, an inspiration to any team, and a football colossus. On my own behalf and on behalf of Roscommon people everywhere I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife Mary, sons Niall and Conor, his daughter in law and grandchildren on his passing,” said Sweeney. “We were privileged to have known him, to have seen him and I can honestly say Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.”
O’Malley made his Roscommon football debut in November 1947, playing all the way through to 1964. He later helped out in a coaching capacity for the Dublin based Roscommon players having at this stage relocated to the capital, while he would also serve as president of the Roscommon GAA county board.
In 1961, he was chosen as the footballer of the year by the Association of Gaelic Sports journalists in a countrywide ballot.
Among those to pay tribute to O’Malley, fellow St Brigid’s club man and former Roscommon goalkeeper Shane Curran tweeted; “Saddened to hear of the death of former Roscommon Legend Gerry O Malley A true gent a great friend & 1 of Best to ever play the Game #RIP”
His performances in the Connacht finals of 1952 and in 1962 in particular are rated among his best, that year he also captained his county in the All-Ireland final defeat against Kerry.
In the 1962 provincial decider Roscommon edged Galway by a point in the famous ’game of the broken crossbar’. With the Tribesmen well in the ascendency, Roscommon capitalised upon the stoppage in play - with O’Malley moved to midfield upon the resumption he inspired his team to victory with his trademark surges up the field.
His sole All-Ireland medal came with the Roscommon junior hurlers when they defeated Warwickshire in the 1965 final - but his performances prior to that had yielded four Connacht football titles across three decades, cementing his place in GAA folklore.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.