Kehoe, Paddy

February 14, 2007
The late Paddy Kehoe A minute's silence was observed at the County Board meeting for the late, great Padge Kehoe, who passed on to his eternal reward at the age of 81. Padge was an outstanding half-forward for a brilliant Wexford Senior hurling team which captured the imagination of the sporting public throughout Ireland during a golden era in the 1950s. He played in his first All-Ireland Senior hurling championship final for Wexford in 1951, but the Slaneysiders lost out to Tipperary. He returned three years later to Croke Park as team captain, only to be denied on that occasion by Cork, who completed the three-in-a-row with a narrow victory. However, Padge and his team of talented stickmen refused to give in until their dream was realised, and it all came gloriously right in September 1955, when Galway were defeated, thus securing Wexford's first All-Ireland Senior title since 1910, and third in total. Twelve months later, another vituoso display from Padge, Nickey Rackard and company saw Wexford retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup, which completed a remarkable year in which they also won the National League, Leinster, Oireachtas and Walsh Cup titles. The 2-14 to 2-8 win over Christy Ring's Cork before an attendance of 90,000 singled them out as a truly special side. Padge then captured his third All-Ireland medal in 1960, scoring a goal from a 21-yard free as Wexford shocked a hotly-fancied Tipperary outfit led by the great Jimmy Doyle (2-15 to 0-11). He played in his sixth and last All-Ireland Senior final in 1962 as a 35-year-old, when Tipp avenged their defeat from two years earlier. Nevertheless, he wasn't quite finished yet, as he again had a major role to play in Wexford's fifth All-Ireland Senior title in 1968, this time as team manager. However, he had no qualms in later admitting that he found it far more satisfying winning an All-Ireland as a player than as a mentor. Not just a prolific scorer, but an outstanding team player, Padge was also a regular on the Leinster team, while he played for an Ireland selection on three occasions. His exploits weren't just confined to the small ball code though, as he also represented the Wexford Senior footballers on countless occasions, scoring a goal to famously put Dublin out of the Leinster championship on one particular occasion during the 1950s. On the club scene, Padge won a remarkable nine county Senior hurling championship titles with the famed St. Aidan's team from Enniscorthy, between the years of 1946 to 1959, while he also won a county football medal with Emmetts in 1944. The man from Glencarrig had been in poor health for over a year, and his death means that there are now seven surviving members of the Slaneyside starting 15 which claimed back-to-back All-Ireland titles just over a half a century ago. They are goalkeeper Art Foley, Billy Rackard, team captain Jim English, Seamus Hearne, Ned Wheeler, Martin Codd and Tim Flood. The high esteem in which this great sportsman was held by all in County Wexford and beyond was reflected in the huge turn-out at his funeral in St Senan's Church, Enniscorthy. Ad dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Courtesy of the Wexford People 14 February 2007

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