Tributes paid to the late Cathal Friel - a driving force in the LGFA

May 03, 2024

Cathal Friel being presented with a GAA President's Award by Uachtarán CLG Christy Cooney in 2010 ©Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Ladies Gaelic Football Association President Mícheál Naughton has led the tributes to former Leinster LGFA secretary Cathal Friel, who has passed away.

Cathal played a key role in the establishment of the Wicklow ladies county board in 1988 and he enjoyed a wonderful career in administration at various levels.  

A native of Mountcharles in county Donegal, Cathal played for the St Naul’s club before emigrating to New York when he was 17 years of age.

In the early 1970s, Cathal moved back to Wicklow and was involved in setting up the Coolkenno club, before the county Ladies Football board was formed on May 11, 1988.

He would later serve as Wicklow county board chairperson and Leinster LGFA secretary, while also providing invaluable service on the LGFA national fixtures committee for many years.

In 1990, Cathal was part of the management team as Wicklow won the All-Ireland Junior title against London at Croke Park, just two years after the first county board meeting.

This All-Ireland title for Wicklow was a source of great pride for Cathal, who will be fondly remembered for his contribution to Ladies Gaelic Football at county, provincial and national levels.

LGFA President, Mícheál Naughton, said: “All of us at the Ladies Gaelic Football Association are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Cathal Friel.

“Cathal’s contribution to our sport over many years is simply immeasurable and he hailed from a family steeped in Gaelic Games.

“Cathal’s uncle played on the St Naul’s team in Donegal during the 1950s and Cathal himself would go on to wear the club shirt with distinction.

“He was incredibly passionate about Ladies Gaelic Football and the development of our sport – and that was reflected in everything that he did.

“Cathal had such a magnificent grasp on and understanding of fixtures and how they should be assigned, and he served us so well in this capacity on the national fixtures committee for a lengthy period of time.

“Cathal was so proud to witness the rapid development of Ladies Football and worked hard at county, provincial and national levels in administrative roles.

“With a smile that could light up any room, Cathal was always wonderful company and on behalf of all of us at the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, I wish to extend our sympathies to Cathal’s daughters, Annie and Mary, and his extended family and friends at this very sad time.”

Wicklow LGFA Chairperson, Dominic Leech, added: “Cathal was immensely proud of his historical link with Wicklow LGFA.

“He was so involved in the early years and he retained a deep interest in how county teams were progressing on an annual basis.

“His knowledge of fixtures was legendary and he is a sad loss to his family, to whom we send our sincere sympathies.”

Funeral details:

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

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