The funeral of Jackie Murray was one of the largest gatherings of “Glenavon” people to take place in recent years. A who’s who of former managers and players gathered at Malcomson’s Funeral Home in Lurgan on the morning of the Ballymena United home fixture to pay last respects to the former backroom staff member. Those present included Alan Fraser, Colin Malone, Billy Nellins, Eric Bowyer, Alan Gracey, Jim Gardiner, Paul Byrne, Stephen McBride, Geoff Ferris, Glenn Ferguson and Gary Smyth. Former Sunday Life Sports Editor Jim Gracey also attended.

Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer led the contingent of current directors. There was also a big turnout of past directors and supporters, including many members of the Triangle Supporters’ Club.

Club chaplain Rev. Paul Whittaker took part in the Service of Thanksgiving for Jackie’s life. He reflected on some recent conversations which they had together about faith and, of course, football.

The affection which so many former players had for Jackie was reflected in the comments of Paul Byrne who, of course, made a record 668 appearances between 1983 and 1998:

“Jackie was a gentleman. He helped me to settle in when I first arrived at Mourneview Park. He did so much for the players. He was the backbone of many of the good things which happened. He played a hugely important role.”

Hopefully Jackie’s wife, Sadie, son Darwin and the rest of the Murray family take some solace from the large numbers which attended the funeral and supported them at such a sad time.