Magherafelt man Paddy MacFlynn ‘led the GAA through troubled years’

Magherafelt team of 1939 which won the Derry title. Paddy is in the centre of the back row to the right of the goalkeeper.

Magherafelt team of 1939 which won the Derry title. Paddy is in the centre of the back row to the right of the goalkeeper.

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ONE year ago former GAA President and Magherafelt native, Paddy MacFlynn and author Alan Rodgers embarked on a project to complete the autobiography of the president who guided the GAA through one of the most difficult periods of the Troubles.

Now the completed book entitled ‘Leading Through the Troubles - A Life in the GAA - Paddy MacFlynn’ will have its official Derry launch in the MacFlynn Suite at the Magherafelt O’Donovan Rossa grounds tonight (Thursday November 7) at 7.30pm. Everyone welcome.

In the book, Paddy MacFlynn - who was GAA President from 1979 to 1982 - recounts in a forthright and honest manner the challenges of guiding the association through the army occupation of the Crossmaglen grounds, and dealing with events at the time in the H-Block - most notably the 1980/81 Hunger Strikes.

The publication of the book is made all the more poignant by the death of Mr MacFlynn in September at the age of 95.

Among the most interesting insights centre on his role in the development of the GAA in Magherafelt and Derry from 1934 onwards. He also recalls with clarity life in the town from the 1920s onwards, including his close association with Slaughtneill.

His long involvement with the GAA in Derry is recalled in detail and he speaks with pride about his trips back to the county as President and also his attendance at the 2013 Annual Congress and Scor finals.His insights are an important addition to modern Irish history and how these events were high on his agenda as leader of an organisation whose members were affected in a multitude of ways.

‘Leading Through the Troubles’ will be launched by Derry GAA legend, Jim McKeever, who will speak about how his first involvement in gaelic football came when Paddy MaFlynn organised a game between Magherafelt and Ballymaguigan primary schools. The significance of Paddy MacFlynn’s presidency also becomes clear through the 250-page book.