IRELAND AND Connacht's first British & Irish Lion Ray McLoughlin, has died at the age of 82.
McLoughlin passed away on Saturday following a long illness.
Born in Ballinasloe Co. Galway in 1939, McLoughlin represented Connacht 34 times and earned 40 caps for his country with 7 caps as captain.
McLoughlin made the step up to the British & Irish Lions in 1966. He toured Australia & New Zealand and featured in three Test matches as well as 14 provincial fixtures.
A true Connacht Rugby legend has passed on.
Ray McLoughlin was one of our greatest ever players, our first @lionsofficial
representative, and a former @IrishRugby captain.
May he rest in peace.https://t.co/8JyodwuebG pic.twitter.com/0jFJU298G4
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) November 22, 2021
His call up to the Lions in 1971 for the tour of New Zealand was unfortunately cut short due to injury.
McLoughlin will go down as Ireland’s greatest ever props and he leaves a legacy like no other, rugbywise in the West of Ireland.
A statement from Connacht Rugby was released about his passing. It read;
"Everyone at Connacht Rugby sends on our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and everyone in the wider rugby community who had the pleasure of working with him".
For those of you that are asking…
🦁 Ray McLoughlin (1966, 1971)
🦁 John O’Driscoll (1980, 1983)
🦁 Ciaran Fitzgerald (1983)
🦁 Bundee Aki (2021) pic.twitter.com/ruzVL4fNc7
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) May 6, 2021
Ballinasloe RFC posted online:
"Ray was and still is a legend in Irish, Connacht & Ballinasloe rugby circles. Sincere condolences to his family, siblings, extended family, neighbours & many friends. May Ray Rest in Peace."
The Newcastle Falcons have also paid tribute to McLoughlin, who captained the club (then called Gosforth) in 1964 when he was studying in England.
Predeceased by his wife Geraldine and his sister Enda, he will be sadly missed by his children Lynne, Karen, Jennifer and John, son-in-law Eduardo, daughter-in-law Sarah, grandchildren Kate, Lucy and Lucas, brothers Feidlim and Colm, sister Muire, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Removal to St Anne’s Church, Shankill, takes place this Wednesday morning (November 24) arriving at 10.50am for Funeral Mass at 11am, followed by burial in Shanganagh Cemetery.