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Tributes have been paid to the late John Dunford, the influential music manager who had recently qualified as a sea angling skipper.

As the Sunday Independent reports, Dunford loved the sea, bought a boat, and completed training with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

Sadly, the 68 year-old father of four daughters from Mayo and living in Dublin passed away recently.

A celebrated music manager, sound engineer and co-producer, Dunford worked with many Irish musicians and set up the Hummingbird label.

He was best known as Sharon Shannon’s manager and long-time mentor and played a significant role in the early years of The Waterboys. He also worked with Planxty, Clannad, Moving Hearts, De Dannan and In Tua Nua among other groups.

A "mighty sound man, crew boss, travel companion, counsellor, fixer, co-producer, Irish trad music guide, partner-in-mischief, head, magic-seer and friend” is how Waterboys founder Mike Scott has described him on Twitter.

“He was the one with all the drive and passion that made my musical career what it is,”Sharon Shannon has said.

He was production manager, co-producer and location scout for The Waterboys, and located Spiddal House in An Spidéal, Co Galway, to record the Fisherman’s Blues album.

“A trip to Inis Mór on the Aran Islands, eating fresh lobster and drinking poitín in Nannie Quinn's house, and sailing back to Galway in a hooker the following morning in a force six gale,”was how he remembered that time in a subsequent interview.

Through his Hummingbird label, Dunford was involved in releasing albums by Sinead O’Connor, Donal Lunny’s Mozaic, John Spillane, The Monks of Glenstal and he worked with Philip King and Lunny on the 1991 /BBC/RTÉ/ Hummingbird five-part documentary “Bringing It All Back Home.”

Hailing from Castlebar, Co Mayo, John was the eldest in a family of five, and was immersed in music from a young age, playing with the La Salle group.

His brother, Steve, was also a musician and founding member of the group General Humbert, along with Mary Black. Steve Wickham’s tune “Dunford’s Fancy” on Fisherman’s Blues was named after Steve, who passed away several years ago.

Shannon has described John Dunford as a “natural leader with strong vision and powerful presence and huge charisma”, and “an amazing family man who was adored and idolised by his four daughters and his wife and his three grandchildren”.

He supported many charities in a quiet way, such as the Laura Lynn Foundation after his nephew Kevin died just three weeks short of his ninth birthday.

He was involved in setting up a school in Malawi, and he participated in the “Cycle for suicide” and raised funds for the Galway project, “Rosabel's Rooms”, named after the late Rosabel Monroe.

John Dunford is survived by his wife Hilly, and his daughters Becky, Hannah, Katy and Emily, brother Chuck, sister Derval and extended family.

Read The Sunday Independent here

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About Match Racing

A match race is a race between two competitors, going head-to-head.

In yacht racing, it is differentiated from a fleet race, which almost always involves three or more competitors competing against each other, and team racing where teams consisting of 2, 3 or 4 boats compete together in a team race, with their results being combined.

A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. With effective boat handling and clever use of wind and currents, a trailing boat can escape the grasp of the leader and pass. The leader uses blocking techniques to hold the other boat back. This one-on-one duel is a game of strategy and tactics.

About the World Match Racing Tour

Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR). Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors