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RIP: Des Farley - Trainer of our 1968 All Ireland Winning Team

Tuesday 6th April 2021

Coiste Chontae an Dúin and the family that is Down GAA are saddened to learn of the death of Des Farley, Trainer of our 1968 All Ireland Winning Team.  

Des was a native of Collegeland in County Armagh, winning an Armagh Senior Championship Medal in 1961 with is home club, he came to teach in St Malachy's Castlewellan and went on to win a Down Senior Football Championship Medal with Castlewellan in 1965, scoring two points in the victory over Clonduff. 

In 1967, The County recognised Des's talents as a coach and PE Teacher, he was asked to join a Team Management that included Gerry Brown as Manager, Des as Team Trainer and his St Malachy's colleague Dan Rooney, George Lavery and TP Murphy as selectors, Dr Martin Walsh as Medical Advisor and Paddy O Donoughue as County Chairman. In 1968 a team superbly prepared by Des, brought a National League and a third All Ireland Title to Down. the renowned GAA writer Raymond Smith referred to " a Team on the Side-line as well as on the playing pitch, to each man his own job, which he knew to the letter". 

In the case of Des Farley, he did indeed know his job and he must have been a very proud man as he saw his adopted County win a third Sam Maguire, there were players on the team that he had played with and against at Club level and now he had taken them to the next stage and an All-Ireland victory. Des continued to play the role of Team Trainer into the early 1970s and was a man regarded as being innovative in his training techniques.

In St Malachy's High School, Des followed other outstanding GAA stalwarts like Danny Flynn, Paddy McAleenan and Dan Rooney to become Principal and staunchly supported the promotion of Gaelic Games in the School, making a huge contribution to the Clubs of the area and to the County as a whole. Des Farley made a difference to the lives of many he met either as a trainer to Down Football Teams or as a Teacher and Principal in St Malachy's High School Castlewellan, we in Down GAA value and recognise the contribution of the man who came to County Down in the 1960s and made an impact in so many ways.

To Des's wife Liz, his daughter Shelly Ann, his son in law Nicholas,  to the entire Farley family circle and the Gaels of Castlewellan we extend our deepest sympathy at this sad time.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. 

Seán Óg Mac an tSaoir