May 26, 2005
The Late Johnny Price
Wicklow GAA was in mourning again this week with the sudden passing at the weekend of perhaps the most famous referee in the county, Johnny Price.
Johnny passed away suddenly in the Normandy town of Eu, where he had travelled on pilgrimage with his wife Dean and several others from his beloved home Parish of Roundwood.
Aged 64 when he passed on, Johnny's long-lasting love affair with Gaelic football started as a youth playing with Ballinasloe, the forefathers of both Roundwood and later the An Tochar clubs.
While he enjoyed a reasonable playing career, it was as a referee that Johnny really came into his own.He officiated at county finals in all grades including senior level, in a long and illustrious career as the man in black.
Most famously of all, he made national headlines some twenty years ago after taking charge of an Under 21 football final in Baltinglass. At the end of the match as Johnny preparing to leave, he was bundled into the back of his hatchback car by some disgruntled fans and dumped in the middle of nowhere.
Not that Johnny let that get in the way of his passion for all things GAA as he continued to play an active role in the sports as both a match official and a dedicated member of his own club.
Indeed, in later years Johnny came to look back on that infamous incident and great humour and grace, and was even happy in recent times to pose in a car boot for photographs for national newspapers.
His good-natured attitude was also evident in all other aspects of his everyday life, and was to the fore too in how he dealt with some illness in recent times. While he had recently undergone a surgical procedure, he felt well enough to travel to France with the Parish group, but unfortunately it was to be his last trip away from home as his sudden passing has robbed Roundwood and the rest of County Wicklow of one of its greatest characters.
Outside of the gaelic games fraternity, many will recall Johnny's time as the first driver of the St. Kevin's Bus travelling from Glenalough to Dublin.
He also worked in Paul's Garage in Bray for a number of years before starting up his own successful motor garage business in Roundwood. He secured the contract as the local agent for the AA, and came to the rescue of many a stranded motorist over the years as they encountered engine troubles or fuel shortages while on drives across the Wicklow mountains.
As well as his wife Dean, Johnny is also survived by his loving family Vincent, Carmel, Joe and David.
Courtesy of the Wicklow People
26th May 2005
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