27 Nov 2021

'A beautiful girl in every way' - death of noted Finn Valley athlete Margaret Gallen

'A beautiful girl in every way' - death of noted Finn Valley athlete Margaret Gallen

The late Margaret Gallen (second from right) with her sister Christine, Ted McGarrigle, Marie Rushe and Patsy McGonagle.

Finn Valley Athletics Club have paid tribute to one of its earliest impactful athletes, Margaret Gallen, following her death this week.

Margaret passed away peacefully at her home at Altiskane, Strabane on Tuesday.

Formerly of Crossroads, the late Ms Gallen’s funeral takes place this morning at St Patrick’s Church, Crossroads.

In 1979, Margaret Gallen was the first athlete from Finn Valley AC to compete at the World Cross-Country Championships, which were held in Limerick that year.

In 1977, she was part of a historic afternoon when Finn Valley AC won Ulster Senior men’s and women’s cross-country titles.

Margaret finished eighth with Geraldine Gillespie (2nd) Susan Houston (5th), her sister Christine Gallen (6th) and Kay McGowan (7th) on the Finn Valley AC women’s team.

She had been a noted athlete from an early age.

At the Donegal Road Championships in April 1972, Margaret won the under-11 girls gold, leading Finn Valley to a team gold too.

In a tribute, Finn Valley AC said: “Her association with the club goes back to the earliest days of the club when with other family members her late father Hugh introduced them to what was a new activity athletics.

“Margaret was to go on to pave a successful career winning at Ulster and national level competing internationally.

“A beautiful girl in every way and her passing has brought so many happy memories to the fore - memories that we will forever cherish.

“To Margaret's immediate and extended family we offer our deepest sympathy. RIP.”

Margaret was the much-loved mother of Shane, Kerrie and Nikita, loving granny of Brógan, cherished sister of Christine, Pat, George, Kathleen, Hugh, Desmond and the late Adrian, loving and devoted friend of Maria and Charlotte, beloved daughter of the late Hugh and Mamie.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated on Friday 5th November at 10 a.m. in St. Patrick's Church, Crossroads, Killygordon. Cremation afterwards in Lakelands Crematorium, Co. Cavan.

The Mass can be viewed via the parish webcam on

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