Mayo GAA has paid tribute to the late John O'Mahony, remembering him as an astute manager and true gentleman. Photo: Sportsfile

Gentleman John O'Mahony remembered as an astute manager by Mayo GAA

Mayo GAA has paid tribute to former player and manager John O'Mahony following his passing.

As manager, the Kilmovee native brought Mayo to their first All-Ireland final in 38 years when they reached the 1989 decider against Cork.

John’s first term as Mayo GAA senior football manager ran from 1987 to 1991, during which he won back-to-back Connacht titles, and he returned for a second spell as manager between 2006 and 2010, claiming provincial glory again in 2009.

Mayo GAA Cathaoirleach Seamus Tuohy said everyone associated with Mayo GAA was shocked and saddened to hear the news of John’s passing today.

“First and foremost, John O’Mahony was a true gentleman. He was kind, caring and so humble. He was passionate about his native county and in particular Mayo GAA.

“He was such an astute manager and very respectful of the players, their families and all the GAA clubs in Mayo.

“John had an outstanding GAA brain and was meticulous with his planning and team preparation. He was a GAA innovator, and was one of the first GAA managers to ever use video analysis and player performance statistics.

“John O’Mahony contributed so much to Mayo GAA from his time as a teacher in St. Nathy’s College in Ballaghaderreen to taking over the Mayo Under 21 team back in 1983. His infamous quote ‘Keep the Faith’ before the 1989 All-Ireland football final will always be remembered in Mayo.

“He was also very involved in club football in Mayo and was always willing to share his knowledge and expertise with clubs in every corner of the county. He always had a friendly smile and acknowledged everyone. He was an amiable, decent man.”

John holds the accolade of being the most successful manager in the history of the Connacht Senior Football Championship, landing eight Nestor Cup titles in total with Mayo (three), Galway (four) and historically with Leitrim in 1994 – their first Connacht SFC title in 67 years. He managed the Galway senior footballers to two All-Ireland titles, in 1998 and 2001.

‘Johno’, as he was affectionately known in Mayo, won an All-Ireland minor title as a player with Mayo in 1971 and three years later in 1974 won an All-Ireland Under 21 title. He played at corner-back in two senior Connacht football finals.

He started his inter-county managerial career by leading Mayo’s Under 21s to the 1983 All-Ireland title. He graduated to the Mayo senior team in late 1987 and inside two years had them in the All-Ireland final.

Mayo GAA has extended deepest sympathies to John's wife Geraldine and five daughters – Grainne, Niamh, Rhona, Deirdre and Cliodhna. The funeral arrangements can be found on Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.