March 24, 2006
The late Paddy Power
Going to Pairc Naomh Mhuire in Quilty will not be the same this year, or in future years, because the great man Paddy Power will no longer be there to meet us.
What a pleasure to meet such a dignified and delightful man, who, in his heyday as a player, was one of the best forwards ever produced in Clare. He was of course, so modest when reminded of his great achievements that he would just smile, and change the conversation to something else. Paddy played for his club Kilmurry Ibrickane at every level and also for his county for many years, but the highest point for him was being on the successful Munster football team of 1946, at a time when it was nearly impossible for a Clare player to be selected.
That winning team included the great Joe Keohane, Paddy Bawn Brosnan, Eamonn Young and Capt Michael Tubridy, a native of Kilrush, but at that time playing for Cork.
This may have softened the blow, of losing two consecutive County Senior Football finals against O'Curry's in 1945 and Cooraclare in 1946, games which many people felt at the time they deserved to win. This was a great Kilmurray Ibrickane team, which included Michael O'Boyle, Kane Walsh, Jack (The Horse) Sexton, John Ryan, Martin Casey, Paddy Connors, and of course his brothers Tony and Joe. Then at the height of his powers migration took him to England, and he missed out on Clare's victory over Kerry at Ennis in 1949.
When he returned the great team of 1945/46 had dispersed, probably due to emigration mostly, and Paddy and Michael O'Boyle were allowed to play for Miltown as isolated players in 1950. This was a very young Miltown team, with Johnny O'Malley, Donie Whyte, Brendan Cleary, Martin Murray, Pat Murray and Marty Marrinan. So the arrival from Quilty of two experienced inter county players, should have ensured a second consecutive win for Miltown who won in 1949, but it was not to be and they were surprisingly beaten by Kilfenora at Cusack Park. Kilfenora went on to win the final, with such great players as Dermot Hogan, Tommie Hogan, PJ Lynch and Paddy Begley.
However, he had the consolation of winning a Cusack Cup medal that year, which, while very worthwhile, was scant consolation to such a great player. He never complained and continued to play during the fifties, and into the 1960s.
This man was a truly great forward, who had everything a good footballer needs, speed, skill, toughness when required, but never outside the rules. Totally unselfish he would at all times, try to bring the rest of the forwards into the game, which was the hallmark of a great team man. He had a lot to boast about but he never did. That would not be his style.
He played in an era of great Clare forwards such as Noel Crowley, PJ O'Dea. PJ Begley, James Griffin, Tommie Kelly, Peter Daly and EG Carroll, and what a pity that these wonderful players did not have a Management structure life the 1992 Munster winning team, to look after their interests.
Paddy will be missed by all who knew him, not least his widow and family, because not only was he a truly great player, but he was also a wonderful gentleman.
Courtesy of the Clare Champion
24 March 2006
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