Former Louth manager Paddy Clarke, a hugely popular figure in GAA circles in his home county and around the country, has died.

Clarke was in charge of the Wee County from 1997 to 2001, winning an All-Ireland B title in ’97 and a Division 2 League crown in ’00, beating Offaly in Croke Park.

In a statement, Louth County Board said: "It was with great sadness that Louth GAA learned of the passing of our former senior football manager Paddy Clarke.

"Paddy made a huge contribution to the Association both within the county and outside and his loss will be sorely felt by all in the GAA."

Clarke was also assistant Ireland manager to Brian McEniff for the International Rules tests against Australia in 2000 and 2001.

He managed teams to county championships in Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Cavan and Dublin and he brought St Brigid’s to their first Dublin and Leinster titles in 2003.

Known as a tactically astute maanger, his last coaching job was with Dreadnots, who he led to their first ever Louth Senior Football Championship final in 2012, which they lost to St Patrick’s.

Tributes have been paid to Clarke, who also worked as a coach tutor with Leinster GAA, training the next generation of coaches..

"I would say Paddy would have inspired me, and inspired numerous teams that he coached," said former Louth goalkeeper Colm Nally, speaking on local radio.

"He breathed life into even the most mundane tasks. He was devoid of ego."

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