Gallery: Mourners pay tribute to the Master as Eamonn Ryan is laid to rest

Cork coaching great inspired generations of GAA players
Gallery: Mourners pay tribute to the Master as Eamonn Ryan is laid to rest

The hearse drives into UCC's The Farm Sports Grounds where Cork ladies fooballers, past and present, formed a guard of honour for the cortege. Picture: Larry Cummins

LEGENDARY Cork ladies footballer manager Eamonn Ryan was laid to rest on Saturday, his loss uniting GAA supporters across the county.

 The hearse passes over the River Sullane at Ballingeary as mourners make their way from the church. Picture: Larry Cummins
The hearse passes over the River Sullane at Ballingeary as mourners make their way from the church. Picture: Larry Cummins

A brilliant coach and an utter gentleman, he passed away after an illness last week at the age of 79.

Valerie Mulcahy as the hearse passed at the UCC Farm. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Valerie Mulcahy as the hearse passed at the UCC Farm. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

As well as winning a staggering 10 All-Irelands in 11 years at the helm of the ladies footballers, he had great success with the Na Piarsaigh and Watergrasshill hurlers, Beál Áthan Ghaorthaidh, UCC and the Cork footballers.

Former Cork player Geraldine O'Flynn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Former Cork player Geraldine O'Flynn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

While Covid restrictions severely limited the numbers at the funeral in Beál Áthan Ghaorthaidh where he lived, mourners lined the roads in his native Watergrasshill to acknowledge the GAA great they called 'The Master'.

 The sign on display as the funeral cortege passed Watergrasshill on Saturday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
The sign on display as the funeral cortege passed Watergrasshill on Saturday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

At UCC's The Farm training ground, Cork ladies footballers past and present formed a guard of honour, before the cortege made the journey to the church of Naoimh Fionnbarra agus Rónán, with his brother-in-law Fr Aidan Vaughan presiding over the funeral mass.

The hearse at the UCC Farm on Saturday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
The hearse at the UCC Farm on Saturday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

While best known for his coaching nous, he was a fine player too, lining out for Cork in the 1966 and '67 All-Ireland finals, and excelling for his clubs Watergrasshill, who won a junior county in 1974, and Glenville. During his time studying in UCC he captained the footballers to a county final, which they lost after a replay to Beara.

 Na Piarsaigh's Tony O'Sullivan saluting Eamonn Ryan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Na Piarsaigh's Tony O'Sullivan saluting Eamonn Ryan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The peak of Ryan's coaching career was in those halcyon days with the Cork ladies footballers, but he was involved with the Cork seniors on three occasions, including Munster titles in 1983 and '99. He was also manager when the Cork minors lifted the 1991 and '93 All-Irelands. On the hurling front, they'll certainly never forget his influence in Na Piarsaigh, on board for all three of their senior counties, in 1990, '95 and 2004. But then he'll never be forgotten by Cork GAA fans everywhere.

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