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The late Anthony Williamson

Sunday 5th November 2023

Coiste Chontae an Dúin and the family that is Down GAA are saddened today to learn of the death of Anthony Williamson,  our former County Chairperson and a man who gave great service to Club and County over the decades.

Credited nationally as being the man along with Derry Gowan of Cor who devised a structure for what was described as " An All Ireland Inter-Club winter social activity" . Asked by the then Uachtaran Seamas Uí Riain to devise such a structure, Anthony and Derry worked long hours to produce a programme in 1969 which would become known as Scór Seachto. 

The concept had been born in the parish of Ballela when the Rostrevor Club visited one evening for a Quiz followed by a cup of Tea, great craic and a sing song, out of that grew Scor a facet of our Association that has given pleasure to many over the past 54 years. Anthony  was conscious that we needed something more beyond playing our games, he wanted to develop the GAA socially and he wanted to give an outlet to those who wanted to be an active part of the GAA even if their playing days were over or in some cases might never have started. 

He had that vision and in creating that vision he was very much hands on, for  back in 1967 when the South Down Committee had initiated a Quiz competition, Anthony was on the three man organising committee with Barney Carr and Father Davies and on the night of the Final between Rostrevor and Warrenpoint, Anthony was the Time-Keeper, Barney the Question Master and Fr Davies the Score Keeper. 

On the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Scór, Anthony was recognised, Provincially and Nationally for his outstanding contribution, that contribution had made a difference to the lives of many, the GAA through the creation of Scór,  was inclusive and playing a key part in the protection of Irish Culture and Heritage. Anthony Williamson brought energy, passion and determination to the development of Scór and it is testimony to his good work that Scór is still vibrant within the GAA Community today.

Having served as a member of the South Down Committee and having held office in his own Club, Anthony followed his fellow Rostrevor man the late George Tinnelly,  when in 1974 he became County Chairman for the first time defeating the late Harry McEvoy in a close contest. 

Anthony would serve three years as County Chairman and during that time he would oversee the delegation of administrative affairs within the County to a number of subcommittees, into being came, Activities, Development and Grounds and Finance committees all with clearly defined terms of reference, it would take time for the structures to come to fruition but Anthony Williamson as County Chairperson had sown the seeds. 

In 1976 he had the great honour of presenting the Frank O'Hare Cup to his beloved Rostrevor when they overcame Warrenpoint in the Senior Championship Final and on that day in St Patricks Park, there was no prouder man than Anthony Williamson.

1980 would see Anthony return as County Chairperson taking over from Benny Crawford and in the spring of 1980, Anthony as County Chairperson would welcome delegates to GAA Congress in Newcastle, when he would also have the double honour of welcoming his fellow county man Paddy McFlynn as incoming GAA President.

 In welcoming the delegates to County Down, Anthony Williamson stated his  wish to demonstrate that from the heart of St Patrick's Country we could say with conviction and sincerity that the GAA wished to serve all of the people of our Island, this was so true of Anthony Williamson, for he sought only to serve, to give of his best at all times, for his Club Rostrevor, his County, his Community and to try where he could to make a difference to the lives of those he encountered. 

Anthony would only serve the one year as County Chairperson in his second term, in that one year he continued to be a fair and honest County Chairperson, he ensured that voices were heard and that all carried equal weight, he had tough decisions to make,  but he never shirked from making those tough calls, only ever governed by the question was it right for Down. 

We in Down GAA were privileged to have Anthony Williamson as one of our own, he was a man who espoused the volunteer ethos of the GAA, he sought only for the betterment of others, and he did make a difference in the lives of others through his work in the GAA. 

We offer our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to his family, to Siobhan, Fiona, Tony, Bronagh, Catherine and the late Geraldine, his grandchildren and his sister Eileen and brother Michael, to the Gaels of Rostrevor we also offer our condolences on the passing of a man who gave great service to his Club.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis