Former Trillick and Tyrone great Pat King has passed away after a short illness.
One of the greats of club football, he won five O’Neill Cup medals and was the oldest player to start on the winning side in a senior county final when he was 39-years-old in 1986. The following year he also played in the final when Trillick were defeated by Ardboe.
A retired PE teacher, he also played for Tyrone throughout the 1970s and was on the half forward line when they won the 1973 Ulster title. In 1980 he was man of the match when Trillick won the county final and three years later captained the team to the league and championship double. He also went to win a club championship medal with Lisnaskea where he made his home and managed the Fermanagh senior team.
Former Tyrone minor and U21 manager Liam Donnelly who played alongside Mr King for Trillick said the club and local community was “completely shocked.” He described his former team-mate as a “Trillick and Tyrone legend.”
Mr Donnelly said, “Pat was not only a great player but also a great coach who was away ahead of his time in preparation. I remember as a child seeing him score a great goal for Tyrone in the 1973 All Ireland semi-final against Cork. He taught in St Eugene’s, Roslea and many of the Roslea team who played in the 1982 Ulster club final would have been coached by Pat during their school days.
“The school also did very well under his guidance not just in football but he brought in other sports such as canoeing and cross country running. They had Ulster cross country champions which was unheard of before then. He was 20 years ahead of this time in fitness preparation.”
A Trillick native, he played senior football for over 24 years and was almost 45 when he hung up the boots with Lisnaskea. He continue to cycle regularly and keep fit until his recent illness.
Mr Donnelly added, “He was not the biggest but he was some athlete. He climbed Cuilcagh Mountain in Co Fermanagh just before Christmas and kept in great shape.
“Pat was a great fellow and people are devastated to hear of his passing. It came so suddenly, it is a terrible shock. He was not just a Trillick legend but also a Tyrone legend.”
Mr King is survived by his sons Barry, Shane and Ronan, grandchildren and a wide family circle.