The death has been announced of James McCartan Snr, who played on the history-making Down team that won consecutive All-Ireland senior football titles in 1960 and '61.

McCartan and his colleagues brought Sam Maguire across the border for the first time with the win over Kerry in 1960. A year later a record 90,556 attended Croke Park as the Mournemen got the better of Offaly.

As a lively forward, McCartan also won two National League medals and was twice named Texaco Football of the Year. He later served as Down manager, leading the county to a league title in 1983.

McCartan's son, James Jnr also excelled in the Red and Black and was on the All-Ireland winning sides in 1991 and 1994. He also went into management and took Down to the 2010 All-Ireland final where they lost to Cork. That 2010 side also contained his other son, Daniel while Eoin has also represented the Mourne county.

McCartan was also a well-known figure in the world of greyhound racing and in 1978 he won the Irish Cesarewitch with Gullion Lad.

Down GAA paid tribute to one of their most legendary players.

"Coiste Chontae an Dúin and the entire GAA community in Down are saddened to learn today of the death of an icon of Down football James McCartan," a statement read.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to James' wife Marie, his daughters Delia and Maria, sons Brian, James, Charlie Pat, Daniel and Eoin, his grandchildren, his brother Dan and sisters Gay, Delia and Eileen.

"Today our GAA world in Down is a poorer place with the loss of a man who was renowned throughout Ireland for his swash buckling style as centre half forward on the Down team of 1960 and 61.

The Down team, including James McCartan snr (back row, far left), ahead of the 1960 final

"As part of this iconic double All-Ireland winning team, his became a household name and his football abilities were respected and feared by opponents. He was part of the great half forward line with Seán O Neill and Paddy Doherty that played a key role in the historic breakthrough of 1960."

The statement spoke of McCartan's pride at the achievements of his family.

"James McCartan was a man who was passionate about Down. He wanted success and he was driven as a player and a manager to seek out success.

"He would take great pride in the achievements of his sons in the county jersey; they were the third generation to wear the Red and Black and all displayed the qualities of the men who had gone before.

"James was one of those people who helped make us the proud. He was an iconic figure in the annals of Down GAA, and was known throughout Ireland by generations of people who marvelled at his exploits on the playing field.

"Wherever Gaelic games are played, the name of James McCartan will be synonymous with Down and with a team that brought so much joy and happiness to so many people."

"He was a legend in the true sense of the word, who had the heart of a lion. His passing has robbed us one of our greatest sons, someone who loved his football, his county, his club, and most of all his family."