Down GAA are mourning the loss of John Murphy, who was an All-Ireland winner as a player for the county in 1968 and later a selector as the Red and Black twice lifted Sam Maguire in the 1990s.

From the Newry Shamrocks club, Murphy won a MacCrory Cup medal with Abbey CBS in 1964, before featuring for the Down minors at midfield in their All-Ireland minor loss to Mayo in 1966. Two years later as an imposing forward, Murphy goaled early on to set Down on their way against Kerry in the senior decider.

It topped a great year for the player as the Mournemen had tasted National League success in the spring.  Two Railway Cup medals and and a brace of Ulster titles rounded out Murphy's achievements on the field of play. 

Alongside Pete McGrath, Murphy was there to oversee Down's emergence as a force when they won All-Ireland titles in 1991 and '94. Later he helped guide Mayobridge to three consecutive county senior titles from 2004 to '06.  

Paying tribute to John Murphy, a statement on the Down GAA website read: "We in Down GAA have been privileged that John Murphy was part of our story. He was a man of integrity and a man of honor; someone who lived the dream of playing for his county, winning an All-Ireland, scoring that famous goal and then of helping to shape two Down teams to win All Irelands.

"He enjoyed the reunions with playing colleagues from those great days and of growing older with the boys of 91 and 94, He had his favourite seat in the stand at Páirc Esler and watched the next generations give of their best for both Down and Newry Shamrocks.

"John had a wonderful football brain and was a man of wise counsel.

"When Peter McGrath took on the role of county manager in the autumn of 1989, he turned to John again as a selector, once again John Murphy was to have a significant impact in that role. John had presence and status and had a great ability to relate to players personally and to get the best out of them in turn as footballers. In team management, he was never one to shy from debate whilst fully respecting the final decision.

"As a player and as a selector, John always served and acted in the best interests of Down football. He was loyal too to his friend and colleague Peter McGrath, and when the time came in 2002 for that great era in Down football to end, John was still there with Pete."