Down GAA is in mourning following the passing of one of the county's footballing greats, Joe Lennon at 81 years of age.
Joe won three All-Ireland titles in the famous black and red in 1960, '61 and '68, having captained the Mourne County to victory over Kerry in 68. The Aghaderg clubman was at centrefield on the mould breaking 60/61 outfit and added vital experience to a young Down side from his left half back position in 68.
During his managerial career, he steered Down to a National League title in 1983. His deep knowledge of the game helped him spearhead the establishment of the first national coaching course in Gormanston College, where he was a teacher, over 50 years ago, as well as publishing his first book, Coaching Gaelic Football for Champions.
Joe Lennon often appeared on RTE where his unrivalled knowledge of the rules of the game proved so important. A deep thinker about coaching and tactics, Joe moved to Meath in the late 60's and became involved with the St. Patricks, Stamullen club. A man ahead of his times, 2000 saw him conferred with a PHD for a thesis entitled 'Towards a philosophy for legislation in Gaelic Games'.
Down GAA said they had learned of Lennon's death "with great sadness" and extended their deepest sympathy to his family, while his adopted club St Patrick's GAA in Meath described him as an "esteemed member" and also offered its sympathies to the Lennon family.
A statement released by the Down county board today read as follows:
"It is with great sadness that Down GAA have learned this evening of the death of Joe Lennon.
"One of the finest Gaelic Footballers of his generation, Lennon won All-Ireland medals with the Mourne County in 1960, '61, and finally in '68 as team-captain.
"Not only was he a great player, he was also one of the deepest thinkers on the game of Gaelic Football.
"He spearheaded the establishment of the first national coaching course in Gormanston College over 50 years ago, and his first book, Coaching Gaelic Football for Champions, was a seminal work.
"In 2000 he was conferred with a PHD in the field of philosophy of sport for his thesis, 'Towards a philosophy for legislation in Gaelic Games'.
"Truly, Joe Lennon was one of the brightest minds in the history of the GAA.
"We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Anne and the entire family circle."
Funeral arrangements are as follows: Reposing at his home on Saturday from 12pm until 7pm. Removal on Saturday evening to St. Patrick's Church, Stamullen arriving at 8.30pm. Funeral Mass on Sunday at 10am with burial afterwards in Moorechurch Cemetery. Family flowers only.
Down captain Joe Lennon raises the Sam Maguire Cup in 1968
A Master Departs- Tyrone GAA (@TyroneGAALive) November 24, 2016
Gaelic Tyrone is diminished and saddened by the death of Joe Lennon and extends its deepest... https://t.co/KGm1KY1mmy
It is with great sadness that Down GAA have learned this evening of the death of Joe Lennon All Ireland winner in... https://t.co/JYza1cfEur- Official Down GAA (@OfficialDownGAA) November 23, 2016
Very sad to hear of the passing of the Down Football Legend Joe Lennon. What a lovely man. Worked with him when I started in RTE. RIP Joe.- Marty Morrissey (@MartyM_RTE) November 24, 2016