Another link with Meath’s 1967 All-Ireland SFC winning team has been severed with the passing of Bertie Cunningham.

Aged 81, the Ballivor man was an outstanding centre back on the team that defeated Cork in the Sam Maguire Cup decider. His performances that year earned him the Texaco Sports Star of the Year Award. Bertie had first come to prominence a decade earlier when he helped the Royals to an All-Ireland MFC final victory over Armagh. He also won Leinster SFC medals in 1964, ’66, ’67 and ’70, and played football with Ballivor and hurling with Killyon alongside his brothers Christy, Ollie and PJ.

Bertie’s death comes just a month after that of the 1967 All-Ireland winning captain Peter Darby from Trim.

Paying tribute to Bertie, Meath GAA said: “Gaels throughout Meath have been saddened with the news of the passing of 1960s legend Bertie Cunningham, who was centre-half-back on the team that won the Sam Maguire Cup in 1967.

“His death comes just a month after the passing of the captain of the team, Peter Darby.

“Bertie was one of Meath’s brightest stars throughout that era and became the first player from the county to be honoured with the ‘Footballer of the Year’ award in 1967. He produced one of his finest displays in the All-Ireland final against Cork.”

Ballivor GFC said: “RIP Bertie Cunningham.

“A legend of our club and community. A true gentleman that will be greatly missed. Thoughts and prayers are with his family. Ar Dheis Dè Go Raibh a Anam.”