Mr Spain, was Offaly’s GAA Central Council representative for quarter of a century (1981 to 2006) and he was also a widely respected inter-county referee, with the highlight of his career arriving in 1972 when he took charge of the All-Ireland SHC Final where Kilkenny defeated Cork.
He also refereed a National League Final in New York, two Railway Cups, four club All-Ireland finals, an All Ireland Minor Hurling Final, an All-Ireland Under-21 Football final and an All Ireland Junior Football final.
He represented Offaly at minor, junior intermediate and senior level. He was a GAA Trustee for three years during the 1980s and at the time of his death he was a member of the Irish Sports Council, the Offaly GAA Hearings Committee and Honorary Vice President of Kilcormac/Killoughey club, where he served in numerous capacities including chairman, treasurer, PRO and county board delegate. He also served on numerous Croke Pk Committees over the years.
In 2009, Mr Spain was inducted into the GAA’s Hurling Referee’s Hall of Fame.
The presentation was made by then GAA President Nickey Brennan at a banquet in Croke Park.
A minute’s silence was observed as a mark of respect to Mr Spain before Sunday’s Allianz NFL Division 3 encounter between Offaly and Cavan in O’Connor Park, Tullamore, while an Offaly referees Course fixed for Monday night and Tuesday’s scheduled monthly meeting of the Offaly County Board were postponed as a mark of respect.
Offaly GAA Chairperson Pat Teehan described Mick Spain as an outstanding man who dedicated his whole life to the Association.
He commented: "Mick Spain’s contribution to the GAA at local and national level is immeasurable. He could best be described as an icon of the GAA at all levels, with a lifetime of involvement, as a player, referee, and administrator. A man who always saw the positive side of things, he was a proud Kilcormac/Killoughey clubman who took great pride in his club both on and off the field and was very proud of the facilities which the club provided in Kilcormac and Mount Bolus.
Mick also gave outstanding service at county and National level, firstly as a referee, where he commanded respect from players and supporters alike and he was justifiably proud of reaching the highest level, being appointed to referee the 1972 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final.
After his refereeing career ended he went into administration and gave outstanding service to Offaly as Central Council delegate for 25 years, he also served on various sub committees over the years including referees, PR and at the time of his death was a member of the Hearing Committee. His achievement in being elected as Trustee of the Association in the 1980’s outlines the standing in which he was held among his peers at National level. On a personal note Mick was a good friend and I will certainly miss his friendly banter and the sensible advice that Mick often imparted to me. He was one of life’s gentlemen and his passing has left a void that will not be easily filled, he will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. To his wife Maura, sons and daughters his extended family, and many friends goes our deepest sympathy.”