Born in County Galway, Ray graduated from University College Dublin and played for Blackrock College before arriving at Newcastle University in the early 1960s to take a Ph.D.
He joined Gosforth, and though his time in the North East was relatively short he was appointed club captain for the 1964-65 season. He was also made captain of Northumberland.
A prop renowned both as a technician and for his considerable strength, he was capped 40 times by Ireland, making his debut against England at Twickenham in February 1962.
He captained Ireland in eight tests, and his final international was against Wales at Cardiff in March 1975.
Ray toured with the British Lions to Australia and New Zealand in 1966, playing in three tests, and was part of the successful tour to New Zealand in 1971 despite getting injured and leaving the tour prior to the first test.
On leaving Newcastle he played briefly for London Irish before returning to Ireland, where he forged a successful business career.
He remained in touch with former playing colleagues, and attended the 140th Anniversary Dinner in 2017.