Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Down legend conferrred with Honorary Degree

July 3rd, 2019

Ulster and Down legend Sean O’Neill has been honoured by Queen’s University with an Honorary Degree at a graduation ceremony yesterday.

The three-time All Ireland winner was conferred with a Doctorate of the University for distinction in sport at a ceremony in the Whitla Hall on Tuesday.

Sean O’Neill is one of the most celebrated figures in Gaelic Football. He won three All-Ireland titles, 8 Ulster medals with Down, a record 8 Railway Cups with Ulster and was named on the GAA Team of the Century and Team of the Millennium. He was Footballer of the Year in 1968 and was also named as the Ulster Footballer of the Millennium in 2000.

He was also honoured on the first two Allstar Football teams in 1971 and 1972.

Sean also won two Sigerson Cup medals with Queen’s in 1958 and 1964. As a coach/manager, he was in charge of the Down team that won the Ulster and All-Ireland Minor championship in 1977 and was also in charge of the Queen’s team that won the Sigerson Cup in 1982. He graduated from the university with a degree in law.

He now joins a long and distinguished list of honorary graduates, including former US President Bill Clinton, former Irish Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, Senator George Mitchell, WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney. Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte was honoured in 2006.

In the citation delivered at the ceremony, Queen’s University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor David Jones stated:

Sean has proven over decades to be a man of outstanding talent, integrity and solidity. He stands in our midst as one of the greatest Gaelic footballers in the history of the game – a true legend of Irish sport.

The Queen’s University GAA Past members’ Union have conveyed their congratulations to Sean, stating:

The award of an honorary doctorate is a particularly important accolade that is bestowed on those who have brought distinction to the fields of politics, public service, academia, sports, the arts and literature. Sean O’Neill is a very worthy recipient, having excelled on the field and having contributed significantly to Gaelic Football and the GAA at all levels with Queen’s, Newry Mitchels, Down and Ulster.

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