Offaly GAA has led the tributes to legendary footballer Kevin Kilmurray, who died yesterday after an illness.
Aged 72, the Daingean clubman was one of the Faithful County’s greatest ever footballers who starred at centre forward in the 1971 and ’72 All-Ireland SFC triumphs over Galway and Kerry (after a replay) respectively. He is the fifth member of that ground-breaking Offaly team to pass away, having been predeceased by Kieran Claffey, Larry Coughlan, Mick O’Rourke and Paddy Fenning.
Kevin’s inter-county career spanned the two eras of Offaly’s three Sam Maguire Cup wins. He made his debut as a substitute in the 1969 All-Ireland final defeat to Kerry and played on until early 1982, retiring just a few months before the county sensationally stopped the Kingdom’s five-in-a-row bid thanks to Seamus Darby’s late goal in the All-Ireland final.
Despite missing out on that famous success, Kilmurray still played a major role in it as it was he who had recommended Eugene McGee for the manager’s job in 1976, having played under the Longford man at UCD where he won back-to-back Sigerson Cup, Dublin SFC, Leinster club SFC and All-Ireland club SFC medals in 1974 and ’75.
Kilmurray later managed Offaly in 2005 and '06, leading them to their last Leinster SFC final against Dublin in the latter year.
In a heartfelt tribute, Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan described Kevin as “an influential and creative centre half forward on the history-making Offaly football teams of 1971 and 1972. He was one of the greatest players of his generation and one of the best Offaly footballers of all time.”
Mr Duignan added: “Kevin epitomised all the best qualities that are associated with Offaly GAA. After an outstanding playing career, he remained a passionate supporter of all Offaly teams and, of course, managed the senior team in 2005 and 2006.”
Offaly GAA is in mourning following the sad passing of football legend Kevin Kilmurray. May he rest in peace.— Official Offaly GAA (@Offaly_GAA) December 4, 2022