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McNulty thanks world champion Ali for the “biggest day of my sporting life”

Former Armagh GAA player Justin McNulty has been sharing his own memories of that inspirational letter from the late great Muhammad Ali.

The former footballer, who is now an SDLP Assembly member for Newry and Armagh, said the world champion had been a “major influence” on his life.

Ali passed away on Friday at the age of 74, and will be laid to rest in his native Kentucky this Friday.

Mr McNulty was part of that Armagh team which brought the Sam Maguire back to the Orchard County after beating Kerry by a single point in 2002.

The footballer-turned-politician said: “Muhammad Ali had a big influence on my life. His belief, courage and resilience were a constant inspiration.

It was on the morning of the All Ireland Final that I felt his inspiration the most.

“It was the biggest day of my sporting life, representing my community, club and county in Croke Park.

“That morning each Armagh player woke up to a letter and signed photograph from The Greatest under our hotel room doors.

“As a team we arrived at breakfast believing we could conquer the world. Ali inspired us all to be at our best that day, the 22nd September 2002.

“Thank you Muhammad Ali and those who made that moment possible. RIP The Greatest.”

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