O'Brien, Paddy

A native of Clonfad, Tyrrellspass, 81-year-old Paddy was one of Westmeath's best-known personalities. He was highly involved in his local community and was the proprietor of O'Brien's Garage on Mullingar's Lynn Road. His son Ciaran now runs the business, which has been a Renault dealership since 1972 and is the main sponsor to Westmeath GAA.

A devout Catholic, Paddy also managed Rover Coaches and continued to drive the buses prior to his death. He was a talented goalkeeper in his younger days, playing for St. Mary's, Rochfortbridge alongside his brothers Joe and the late Jack. He played in seven county finals, collecting a senior winners' medal in 1962 when St. Mary's defeated Rosemount by 2-9 to 0-7 in the final. The 'Bridge contested five senior finals in all during the 1960s, losing the other four to St. Loman's (1961 and '63), Mullingar Shamrocks (1964) and St. Finian's (1967).

One of their biggest achievements during that era was the winning of the Roseland Cup in 1963. St. Mary's defeated a Clann na nGael side, which included several members of the Roscommon team that played in the previous year's All-Ireland final, to claim the prestigious silverware.

After his playing career ended, Paddy remained deeply involved with St. Mary's. He served as club chairman in 1964/65.

Married to Moira, who is originally from Kilkenny, Paddy also loved his hurling and attended both the All-Ireland hurling and football finals annually until about three years ago

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