By Michael McMullan
LAVEY Chairman Paddy Chivers has paid tribute to All-Ireland winner Colm McGurk who passed away on Tuesday.
“Pound for pound he was probably the bravest Lavey man of all time,” was the comment from Chivers, leading the tribute on the club’s social media pages.
“Erin’s Own Lavey are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Colm McGurk. The thoughts and prayers of our entire community are with his wife, Sinéad, daughters Orla, Aoife and Méabh, his son John, and the entire McGurk family,” it continued.
‘Collie’ was part of Derry’s All-Ireland senior winning panel of 1993, two years after playing at corner forward as Lavey beat Salthill to land the All-Ireland football title.
Holder of four senior football and 12 senior hurling medals, he was a Sigerson Cup winners with QUB and played on the combined universities hurling team.
He as an Ulster winner with Derry hurlers, going on to manage county’s hurlers to the Nickey Rackard Cup and Ulster u-21 titles in 2017. He was the current Lavey minor hurling manager,
As an architect, he was at the forefront of Derry’s Centre of Excellence in Owenbeg.
“Collie McGurk represents something greater than sport and Gaelic games,” Lavey’s tribute continued. “With his insatiable spirit, energy and lust for life, Collie McGurk was not made for defeat in any walk of life. No challenge, big or small, ever went unmet and his focus was always on the next challenge, the next task. On tomorrow.
“No words will ever do justice to the life and memory of Colm McGurk, but we must try. A brave, generous, determined, talented, kind, altruistic, inspirational and loving man with an irresistible life force has left us. His unbreakable spirit and legacy of service to his family, community and county will endure.”
Derry GAA Chairman John Keenan also paid tribute to McGurk who he said was a “giant of Derry GAA” despite his small stature.
Keenan said his ambition for Lavey and Derry was matched by his “drive” to improve “our community” and “its people.”
“Colm McGurk’s influence can be found on the blueprints of many areas of the GAA in Derry and Ulster,” Keenan added. “Colm had been working with Derry GAA in recent months on plans to further progress our facilities at Owenbeg for player development.
“Colm McGurk brought energy and passion to everything that he did. He was terrific company and will be very sadly missed.
“On behalf of Derry GAA, I want to offer our deepest sympathies to Sinead and the family of Colm McGurk, as well as to the wider community of Erin’s Own Lavey.”
Some of the players who played with an under him also paid tribute to him.
“Very sad news sorry to hear about Collie’s passing was a gentleman in every way! Condolences to Collies family an the McGurk family may he rest in peace.” – Geoffrey McGonagle
“Brilliant words for a legend of a man. Condolences to his family & all in Lavey. RIP Collie.” – Liam Óg Hinphey
“Shocking news for the immediate and extended McGurk families, and the entire Lavey GAA family. RIP Collie – absolute warrior in his commitment to GAA and his beloved Lavey. Sincere sympathy to the family and community. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.”-St Patrick’s Maghera
“Just an unbelievably driven person in all walks of life so glad to have known him well and devastated to hear the news today, condolences to Sinead and the whole McGurk family and the Lavey Club. You lost a true warrior today. RIP my friend” – Niall Mullan
“Really shocked to read this. The Lavey tribute aptly describes the Collie McGurk I knew. I had the honour of taking the Mageean Cup team in my second year in St Patrick’s Maghera. He was my captain, who knew a lot more about leading the team than I did as a young inexperienced teacher. Of course he was a winning captain. I have met him at many games since he left school and always he was a winner with a great smile and quick wit. Leaba i measc na naomh agat, a chara. Tá laoch ar lár.” – Séamas McAleenan
“We are saddened to learn today of the passing of Collie McGurk, a distinguished footballer and hurler for club, county and university. We extend our sympathy to his wife Sinéad, his daughters Orla, Aoife and Meabh, his son John, and to the entire McGurk family circle.” QUB GAA