The Godfather of Dublin GAA, King-maker, evangelist, selfless, dynamic……. just some words to describe Jimmy Gray who has passed away.
A sportsman and a gentleman of the highest integrity and ability, Jimmy represented Dublin seniors in both hurling and football, playing in goals in the 1961 All-Ireland senior hurling championship final - the last time Dublin reached the decider.
One of the founding members of his beloved Na Fianna club, Jimmy was the sitting President of Dublin County Board, and dedicated a lifetime to Gaelic games in the capital.
His influence stretched throughout the decades and continued up until his passing with his promotion of hurling through his central involvement with The Friends of Dublin Hurling - who honoured Jimmy in their Hall of Fame in 2009.
Jimmy was chairman of the Dublin County Board for 11 years and also enjoyed three years as Leinster Council chairman.
He also made one of the most important phonecalls in the history of Dublin GAA when he convinced Kevin Heffernan, as only Jimmy could, to become Dublin senior football manager in 1973. The rest, as they say, is history. A glorious history.
During this period Dublin experienced a renaissance in Gaelic games, a rebirth that has had ramifications up to the modern day.
A man of vision and action, Jimmy managed the Dublin senior hurlers from 1993 to 1996 and was also a prominent inter-county referee not long after his senior inter-county playing career had concluded. He refereed the 1969 Leinster senior hurling championship final between Offaly and Kilkenny.
An incredibly engaging man who enjoyed a remarkable life- who can forget the delight on his face when he presented the Bob O'Keeffe Cup to Dublin captain Johnny McCaffrey after their brilliant success to end such a long wait to be crowned Leinster champions in the summer of 2013?
To his wife Gretta, sons Tom and John, daughters Carmel and Annmarie and his extended family and his many friends, Dublin GAA extends our deepest condolences.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.