Fr. Nicholas passed away on Thursday, April 21st. He was 73 years old and a native of Ballymacward. He was widely regarded as one of Galway’s outstanding athletes, excelling in many sports, particularly hurling, playing for both Pearses and Fohenagh.
He attended Esker NS, Ballymacward, Garbally College and St. Columba’s Seminary in Co. Meath, where he was ordained in 1962. Fr Nicholas’ ability as a sportsman became apparent in Garbally College where he played hurling, handball, football and rugby.
He won Connacht Minor Hurling medals with Galway in 1955 and 1956, Connacht Junior Hurling Championship in 1956, a Connacht Cup (Rugby) with Garbally in 1956 and then played for Connacht. He also played Minor football with Galway in 1956. He played Senior hurling for both Galway and Connacht in the late fifties and early sixties, with greats like Joe Salmon and Tim Sweeney. He was granted special permission to play Senior hurling with Fohenagh (a neighbouring parish) winning Senior County medals at midfield in 1959 and 1960.
After ordaination, he was sent by the Columban Fathers to their mission in the Philipines. He returned home seven years later commencing training with the newly formed (1966) Padraig Pearses GAA Club. He was an integral part of the team that captured the East Board Senior Championship in 1969. After returning from another mission to the Philippines, he played Junior hurling with Pearses.
Padraig Pearses GAA Club, along with the people of Ballymacward and Gurteen and the GAA community throughout County Galway are deeply saddened by his untimely passing and express their sympathy to the Murray family on the death of a special and unique person.
Ar dheis lamh De go raibh se.