Tributes to the late John Joe Nerney have been pouring in since his death last week with people recalling his tenacity and fitness as a footballer and his kind and gentle demeanour as a person who was universally popular wherever he went.
Speaking to the Roscommon People this week well-known veteran GAA official Eamon Campion reflected on his fond memories of seeing the Boyle legend in action.
“I saw John Joe playing in the replay in 1944 against Sligo and of course he went on to play against Kerry in the All-Ireland final that year.
“I was only young at the time but he was a grafter and he worked very hard for the team.
“He usually played corner-forward and he was always very fit. He was also a star in the Roscommon teams that won Connacht titles in 1952 and 1953.
“He was a very fit man and of course he was out running until he was in his 70s. He was also a lovely man to meet and it was a pleasure to know him and to see him play” Eamon said.
Another man who knew John Joe Nerney well and who played with and against him was Michael Shivnan from Cootehall, who played with Roscommon in the 1950s.
Speaking to the Roscommon People on Tuesday of this week, Michael said: “He was a fantastic player. He was a small man but he was always so fit and he was very tough too. He couldn’t get enough training.
“I played with him and against him too. He was a star on the Roscommon team in ’52 and ’53 and he played some great games for Roscommon.
“We had many a battle when Boyle played St Michael’s over the years and John Joe usually played midfield and I had the unenviable job of marking him. He was just so fit, it was a nightmare trying to follow him around.
“John Joe was a lovely man. He was a very unassuming and quiet man and I always liked meeting with him over the years. I have to say that it was a privilege to play with him and against him over the years – and to know him too. May he rest in peace” Michael concluded.