It is with much regret that we learned of the passing of Malachy Mc Geeney, former player, handballer, coach to many, administrator at various levels, referee and true Armagh Gael.
Is le croí trom a d’fhoghlaim muid faoi bhás Mhaoilsheachlainn Mhic Ghéibheannaigh, iar-imreoir Ard Mhahca, imreoir liathróide láimhe, cóitseálaí, riarthóir, réiteoir agus Gael dílis don chontae seo.
A native of Cullyhanna, Malachy was a noted footballer, representing Armagh at minor level, playing in the 1957 Minor Final, and at senior level, playing for five seasons. His studies brought him to Manchester where he joined Shannon Rangers G.A.A team. Competing in the Lanacashire League Malachy gained a place in the county squad, where his scoring prowess helped to collect the British Championship title. He played against a talented Kerry side in the All-Ireland Junior Championship Final at Croke Park and was marked by the great Mick Morris. Malachy scored two goals and two points, but his team was defeated.
Bhí sé millteanach bródúil as a fhód dúchais i gCoilleach Eanach ach aithníodh é ar fud an chontae as a iarrachtaí na cluichí Gaelacha a chur chun cinn. Bhí aithne air ar fud na tíre ach d’fhág sé rian láidir ar a chontae féin agus tá na céadta lúthchleasaithe óga ar phainéil an chontae go mór faoina chomaoin.
Whilst Malachy Mc Geeney was indeed from Cullyhanna and far from shy in acknowledging it, he was singularly identified with the promotion of Gaelic games throughout Armagh for decades. Known throughout the country, it was in his native, beloved, Armagh where he left a true legacy; the countless young athletes who are now playing in their county jersey across all codes..He was introduced to hurling by the late Br O’Sullivan during his time at CBS Greenpark and he instilled that grá for the game in many others. Indeed Malachy’s career in management began with St Michael’s minor hurling side, based in South Armagh, which won the County League and Championship in 1968.
His association with St. Patricks Cullyhanna was long. Malachy’s brother, Seamus was secretary of St Patrick’s so he became a member of the committee. It was but a matter of time beforeMalachy went on to coach the St Patrick squad collecting a “B” Championship and Intermediate title. He also coached the Granemore team which won the County Junior Championship; and the Forkhill side, who became the junior champions in 1981.
Chaith sé seal mar oifigeach de Bhord an Chontae, mar oifigeach de Bhord an Deiscirt agus mar oifigeach de Chomhairle Uladh, ach beidh cuimhne bhuan ar Mhaoilsheachlainn as a ról le Cumann na mBunscol. Chaith sé a shaol ag cur ár gcluichí Gaelacha chun cinn i mbunscoileanna Ard Mhacha, i mbunscoileanna Uladh agus i mbunscoileanna na hÉireann.
Whilst Malachy served as an officer of the County Board, officer of the South Board and indeed officer of Comhairle Uladh it was in his role with CumannnamBunscol that Malachy will be fondly remembered. Malachy gave a lifelong dedication to promoting Gaelic games in primary schools in Armagh, Ulster and nationally.
Malachy was a founder member of the Armagh Primary School League in 1965/6 and its first chairman. In 1982 he was responsible for Armagh joining CumannnamBunscol. At local level Malachy held the following posts: secretary, PRO, Treasurer, Chairperson and was Honorary President.
He was, once more, a founding member of CumannnamBunscolUladh and was its first secretary and acted as skills’ organiser from 1983-87. He later served as Ulster chairperson from 1998-2003 and was delegate to ComhairleUladh from 1999-2009. In 1989 Malachy joined the National Committee as Development Officer (1989-1995) and served the National Committee in the following roles: Vice-Chairperson (1995-2000) and President (2000-2005). Throughout this lengthy period of administration Malachy was heavily involved in all aspects of coaching, refereeing and
organisation at local level and was quite often innovative in his approach. He helped organise the mini-sevens in Croke Park for a period of ten years.
Locally Malachy introduced indoor competitions (boys’ and girls’ football, hurling and camogie) and instigated the annual quiz. He introduced Rounders to Armagh schools in 1998 and single-handedly organised a successful all-county Rounders league. Malachy introduced local skill-based competitions which went on to Ulster level; the first Armagh winners being Diarmaid Marsden and OisinMcConville (2002 All Ireland winners). Malachy started handball in Armagh Primary Schools and was National Coordinator from 1991-2005. He refereed these handball competitions at all grades; county,
province and national. Malachy introduced regional primary school squads in both boys’ and girls’ football based on developing skills and enjoyment through quality coaching. He was involved with the weekly coaching of the South Armagh squads with his long time friend Denis Hollywood.
Malachy supervised primary school teams in both codes which participated in half-time exhibition games during National League and Championship games. Many of those primary school kids who took part in the half-time games have gone on to represent Armagh at all levels. The present Senior squads have many members who came under Malachy’s tutelage.
During our dark and troubled past Malachy organised trips to Cork and Kerry for primary school football and hurling squads with the late Jim McEvoy, Cork and Jerome Conway, Kerry. Return trips were made by young Cork hurlers. Ballincollig and St. Patrick’s P.S. Crossmaglen have continued this relationship. During this time trips were organised to Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Meath and Fermanagh. The fact that Armagh school competitions were played as normal throughout these troubled years speaks volumes for the nominee.
Tacadóir dílis Ard Mhacha a bhí i Maoilsheachlainn ariamh anall agus is annamh a chaill sé cluiche. Thug sé a raibh aige dá chontae agus déanann muid uilig, Gaeil Ard Mhacha, comhbhrón ó chroí lena bhean Mona, lena
mhac Ciarán, lena iníon Maria agus lena theaghlach uilig.
MalachyMcGeeney remained a loyal supporter of Armagh and rarely missed a game. A member of the now defunct Armagh Supporters Club, he was a generous benefactor to his native county during lean financial times. Above all Malachy was of Armagh. Every Armagh Gael extends sympathy to his wife Mona, son Ciaran, daughter Maria and family circle.