Passing of Laurie Sweeney and Norman Mackay

It is with sad news that we announce the passing of John (Laurie) Sweeney and Norman Mackay.

Laurie Sweeney was inducted into the Association as a Life Member in 1959. He was a Hall of Fame SANFL Grand Final Umpire. He passed away on Tuesday, aged 93.

The following article was published in The Advertiser on February 10, 2016. Read the original article here.

Michelangelo Rucci, The Advertiser

  Hall of Fame SANFL grand final umpire Laurie Sweeney died on Tuesday. He was 93. Sweeney will be remembered not only for his work with the whistle in SA football’s golden era of the 1950s and 60s, but also his contribution to umpiring as an SANFL observer and in his media work both on radio and television.“He was a fantastic umpire,” said Murray Ducker, a fellow SANFL grand final umpire. “And a lovely man.”

Ken Cunningham, who had Sweeney as his mentor in the 1960s as he moved from boundary to field umpiring, described Sweeney as “a great figure in umpiring and SA football.”

“And he was an absolutely lovely, lovely man,” Cunningham said. 

Sweeney umpired 272 SANFL league games, including the 1958, 1959 and 1961 grand finals. He also served in 14 State games and two national carnivals (1958 and 1961).

Sweeney worked as an SANFL umpires’ observer from 1972-1985.

His funeral will be held Tuesday.  

Laurie Sweeney SANFL Umpire
Footballer Ken Farmer, left, with umpire Sweeney, Pat Hall and Bob Hank on the set of World of Sport in 1963. Image and caption courtesy of The Advertiser.

Norman Mackay, a Life Member since 1971, passed away peacefully at Trevu House, Gawler on February 2nd. He was 83 years old.

The Association passes on its condolences to the family and friends of Laurie and Norman on behalf of all members and the wider South Australian umpiring community. We would like to thank them for their contribution and service to umpiring in this state.