Johnston, Paddy

October 12, 2001
The death of Paddy Johnston on 28th September, 2001, who was 68-years-old, of College Road, Kilkenny, marked the end of a glorious sporting career which included playing, refereeing and coaching the game of hurling, and playing and managing golf. Paddy Johnston can certainly be numbered among the greats of Kilkenny hurling. From his early years in his Hebron Road home, just a stone's throw from Nowlan Park, he developed a passion for hurling. As a teenager, it was his pride and joy to carry the great Jim Langton's hurley to games and later he was to grace Croke Park with a performance which his idol would have admired. Paddy was to develop into one of the finest hurlers the county has ever produced. Probably his greatest hour was in the minor All-Ireland final of 1950 when he was a star in the Kilkenny team that beat Tipperary. His performance in the following year's Leinster final was arguably as good, if not better. He scored 3-5 while giving a hurling exhibition which is still spoken about today. In 1951 he had the unique distinction of playing minor, junior and senior hurling for Kilkenny in the same year. The following tribute came from GAA columnist, Moodharrig: "Eighteen years old Paddy Johnston is a hurler in a thousand who has the accuracy and guile of Langton, the style and lengthy stroke of Lowry Meagher. If the Kilkenny mentors handle him right he could be their match-winner for a dozen years." Paddy was a Clerical Officer with Kilkenny Co. Council. He joined the Council staff at the age of 18 and retired three years ago at the age of 65. It was during his school years at Kilkenny CBS that his love of hurling was nurtured. He wore the maroon and yellow of the CBS with pride and also starred in the colours of his home parish of St.John's. He was to join the famous city club, Eire Óg and among his team mates were Kilkenny hurling heroes like Jim Langton, Liam Reidy, Jack Mulcahy, Seanie O'Brien, the 'Diamond' Hayden and the Gargan brothers. When his playing days were over he gave great assistance to several hurling clubs, such as Muckalee, Clara and Gowran and they benefited greatly from his fund of knowledge. He led Clara to senior county final honours in 1986. He took up refereeing and here too his standards were high and his services were sought at all levels of the game. He refereed the 1976 senior hurling final in which Cork beat Wexford and then toured America with the All Stars to officiate at matches in the US. He refereed up to 10 Kilkenny county senior finals. Paddy was a committee member at Kilkenny golf club for several years. He was a classy golfer and also became a successful team manager. Paddy, Tom McDonald and Pat Coonan were co-selectors of the South Leinster Trophy team that won the final of 1992. His great golfing and social friends were Brendan Reidy, Michael Hurley and Christy Power and only the night before his death he enjoyed a game of snooker with his pals at Kilkenny Golf Club. Paddy also loved gardening and was a proud man when his College Road garden was voted "Garden of the Year" in a local competition. Much of Paddy's life was given in the service of others. He devoted many hours to team games and to promoting sport but he never forgot his first love, his beloved wife and family. He made many friends during a glorious career and huge numbers turned up top pay their respects at his funeral. Former Co. Council workmates formed a guard of honour at the removal from Johnston's, his family funeral home. Remains were removed to St. Patrick's Church where Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr. Ray Dempsey. Burial was at Foulkstown Cemetery. The commentary at his Requiem Mass was by his daughter Nicola Conway. Presentation gifts were brought by Rory McPhillips (hurley), Peter McPhillips (chalk and golf card), Fiona McPhillips (degrees received in university by his children and a silver medal won by his son Karl in his final law year), Seanie O'Brien (All Star blazer and referee's whistle), and Co. Council overseer Patsy Hanrahan (flower plant). The first reading was by his sister-in-law Anne Doolin. The psalm was sung by Mary Meany while the second reading was by his daughter Alison Kehoe. The bidding prayers were by neighbour Loretta Reidy, sons-in-law Kieran Kehoe, Liam Conway and Eddie McPhillips, sister-in-law Joan Johnston and cousin John Kirwan. The Offertory procession included his wife Eileen and daughter Michelle. The Eulogy and Communion Reflection were by his daughter Alison. He is survived by his wife Eileen; son Karl; daughters Fiona, Alison, Michelle, Nicola; brothers Sammy, Noel and Larry; sister Eleanor Johnston; grandchildren, Karl, Rory and Peter McPhillips; Kieran and Sam Kehoe; Fiona and Alex Johnston; Stephen O'Driscoll; sons-in-law Eddie McPhillips, Kieran Kehoe and Liam Conway; daughter-in-law Marie O'Driscoll; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law; uncle Jim and aunt Bridie; cousins, nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends. Courtesy of the Kilkenny People

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