Roscommon ‘ambassador’ Gerry O’Malley passes away
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Roscommon ‘ambassador’ Gerry O’Malley passes away

FORMER London senior football manager Paul Coggins has paid tribute to Roscommon legend Gerry O’Malley, who passed away earlier this week.

O’Malley captained the Rossies in their 1962 All-Ireland senior football final defeat to Kerry and is generally considered to be one of the best players never to have lifted Sam Maguire.

He did, however, win an All-Ireland junior medal as a hurler for Roscommon against Warwickshire in 1965, going on to become President of his county’s board.

“I heard yesterday when the news broke and it’s very sad, he was a great ambassador for Roscommon – we all looked up to him, he was one of our leaders,” said Roscommon native Coggins.

“I’d never met the man or seen him play, but everything I heard about him and read about him was always in high regard. He was renowned for being a fantastic footballer and a gentleman also.

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Paul Coggins [Picture: Inpho] Paul Coggins [Picture: Inpho]
“Growing up we all would have heard about him through our involvement with clubs and that, and it’s always a big shock when these things happen.

“It’s a sad loss and I send my condolences to his family and everyone in Roscommon, there’ll be a lot of mourning in the county.”

Meanwhile, Coggins – who stepped down as London boss after five years at the helm last year – has wished his successor Ciaran Deely, who was a member of his backroom staff last season, good luck ahead of the National League campaign, which begins on January 30.

He said: “I’d like to wish Ciaran, the new management team and the players the very best of luck for the new year.

“I had a great year with Ciaran and he brought forward some really good ideas. He’s managed and coached all over the world to a high level, so London are in good hands.”