The following oration was written and delivered by Michael O'Brien at the graveside of Paddy Carroll on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015...
It is indeed a great privilege for me to say a few words at the graveside of Paddy Carroll, a colleague on the football field almost 55 years ago, and a life-long friend.
The name of Paddy Carroll will always be synonymous with Walterstown GFC, a club to which he gave a lifetime of service. He first lined out for the club in 1953. In those far off days victories on the field were few and far between. It was an achievement even to get a team on the field. But those dismal days ended in 1961, when Walterstown, inspired by men like Paddy, his brothers, Amby and Frank, Paddy and Richie Barry, Tom McMahon, Colm and Michael Gordon, Ciaran Browne and Bernard McCluskey, captured the Junior Football Championship in sensational fashion. The club went on to win the Intermediate Championship in 1964.
So impressive was Paddy that he was selected to play for Meath in the Leinster Junior Football Championship of 1965. When Paddy retired in 1971, he could look back with pride at the great development of the club. Yes, Paddy, and the players of that era built a foundation that is still secure.
Without that solid foundation, it is doubtful if the great victories of the 70's and 80's could have been achieved. His playing days over, Paddy contributed to the club as a selector, an officer and committee member. At the time of his death he was an honorary president of the club. Service was the key word in Paddy's life. A number of younger people often asked me how good a footballer Paddy was. He was good, hard, but fair, he was an excellent corner back - but you tangled with Paddy at your peril.
Young players always looked up to him for guidance and sometimes for protection. He was a wonderful help to me when I was working on the history of the club. Yes, Paddy was the great oak tree in the forest. But alas, the mighty oak has fallen.
While football was Paddy's favourite recreation, he developed a great interest in Pony Racing, and enjoyed great success with the aptly named Peterville Lady.
He was also a great lover of nature, and spent many hours in his garden tending to his flowers and shrubs. His beautiful and decorative hanging baskets will be sadly missed in the summer.
No mention of Paddy Carroll would be complete without mention of his love of music. Having received a present of an accordion from his aunt as a young man he became an expert on that instrument and played with a number of Ceili bands in the area. The fact that two of his grandchildren are now proficient at the accordion pleased Paddy greatly.
Last, but certainly not least, the love Paddy had for Agnes and his family shone like a beacon. As a regular visitor to the Carroll household I can vouch for that fact. He loved when family members came back on visits, and in particular enjoyed the company of his grandchildren. I am certain they will treasure those precious moments for ever.
The referee has blown the final
whistle for Paddy,
The Mighty Oak has fallen,
The old accordion lies silent,
The Carroll family have lost
their trump card,
Darkness has replaced the
But, as Christians we believe that Death is not the end, St Paul once said:
Death, where is thy victory?
Death, where is thy sting?
No doubt, Paddy Carroll has already heard the words - "Well done good and faithful servant".
May God go with you Paddy,
We treasure always the sweet
fragrance of your being,
Grateful to God that you passed