A Cháirde uilig, Táimid anseo are maidin chun saol Padraig Mac Gearailt a cheilúradh, agus is mór é mo phriobhléid mar Cathaoirleach ar Cumann Iomána agus Peile Dungarbhán go bhfuil seans agam cun a chur in úil do Mary beanchéile Paddy, a chlann, gaolta agus cáirde uilig méid ár measa ar Paddy as ucht a bhfuil déanta aige ar son Cumann Lúth Chleas Gael ach go háirithe Club Dungarbháin. Táimid bailithe faoi scamall an bhróin agus Paddy imithe uainn ar shlí na firínne, bhí a fhios againn go léir nach raibh togha na sláinte ag Pádraig le deanaí ach ní raibh éinne ag siúl le imeacht Paddy comh tobann is a tháinig sé. Cé go raibh an sláinte ag teip air, lean Paddy ag obair don club go dian díograsach agus faoi lán seoil. Bhí aithne ó cheann na tíre ach go mór mhór ins na Déisigh ar Paddy. Cé gur trom an tualach bróin anois is le bród agus buíochas atáimid go léir ansel. Fear uasal, fear cróga agus duine den céad scoth, tírgráthóir Padraig bhí árd mheas aige ar gach rud a bhí Gaelach agus dúchasach idir ceol, stair, cultúr, cluichí agus an teanga. Bhí líofacht na Gaeilge aige, rud a chur gliondar chroí air. In abairt amháin chaith Paddy a shaol ag obair ar son Cumann Lúthchleas Gael.
Let’s rewind to late 50’s and early 60’s, I first set eyes on Paddy Fitzgerald when he lined out with the Colligan Rockies. An eagle eyed custodian, he was the Rockies last line of defence and fare game for incoming forwards, a sidestep and lengthy clearance from Paddy lifted many a siege, his displays between the sticks inspired colleagues and his heroics saw many a Colligan team taste a sweet success when defeat looked inevitable. Not surprisingly Paddy saw county duty in the Munster Junior Championships for his top drawer displays. It was in 1978 that Paddy transferred and joined the Old Boro club. For the rest of his life he devoted each ounce of energy to Dungarbhán. His commitment went way above the call of duty. Where do I begin? Can I do the man justice a life of service in a few words. Paddy served as Juvenile and Adult Chairman for many years, Club President, present day Vice-Chairman, Club delegate to both Western and County Boards for years, a valued member of Fraher Field Committee and its Caretaker for a long period, Treasurer of the Western Board for 19 years, a Club trustee, Oifigeach Gaeilge, County Chairman of Scór, Munster Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasure of Scór over the years, Chairman of Dungarvan when they purchased their Grounds and was deeply involved with all Club developments, as a Fundraiser he had few equals, his knowledge of rules often saw his wise counsel in demand. The list is endless, his attention to detail, meticulous planning, infectious enthusiasm and work ethic saw to it that today when we pass or visit our Club Grounds and ongoing developments, we see evidence that are testimony to Paddy Fitzgerald and his lifelong commitment and dedication to Cumann Luthchleas Gael in Dungarbhán.
Belfast 2017 saw Paddy honoured with a national award from Scór. He was the first to be awarded the Jack Furlong Award in our County and some years ago Paddy was awarded a Presidential medal from Croke Park for his life long service and dedication to the G.A.A., a worthy recipient for such prestigious accolades.
Pé i dteas an tsamhraidh é nó i bhfuacht an gheimhridh dhein Paddy a ndicheall ar son Cumann Dungarbháin, thar aon rud eile ba thabhachtaí leis i gconaí tacaíocht a thabhairt d’foireann Dungarbhán pé grad nó aois ag a mbeidis ag imirt. Fial, flaithiuil lena a chuid ama rinne Paddy obair thar barr ar son Dungarbhán. Bhí se I gconaí ag chur ina luí orainn sa Chumann chomh tábhachtach is atá Cumann Lúthchleas Gael I saol agus I gcultúir ár a tíre, ár Chontae agus ár mbaile. Ta mo rás rite, mo port sinnte, ár mbuíochas ó chroí duit, Paddy. Críochnóidh me leis na línte a scríobhadh fadó fadó. Ar dhroim an domhain nil radharc is áille, Ná tríocha ag bualadh báire no caid, Ar pháirce mhór ghlas faoi taitneamh greine, Is na gártha molta ag dul chun speire. Solas na bhFlaitheas ort, a Phádraig, Is i seilbh ghrámhór Dé go raibh tú go deo.
DEATH OF LONG SERVING DEISE GAEL PADDY FITZGERALD
The announcement of the death of Paddy Fitzgerald, Emmett St. Dungarvan on Thursday February 7th has severed a strong link with the organisation of the Gaelic Athletic Association in the Deise County stretching back over fifty years. Many tributes have been to this great Gael in recent days but the greatest perhaps came from the huge amount of members from this and previous generations of his own club, Dungarbhain, who formed such an impressive guard of honour to St. Mary’s Parish church at his funeral last Saturday evening and again on Sunday morning at his burial mass.
Born in 1938, Paddy was a native of Glendog in Colligan and at 22 years of age he starred in goal on the local Rockies side that beat the Tom Cheasty led Ballyduff in the County junior hurling final after a replay. The following year the Colligan club won the same grade in football. Like many of his generation Paddy Fitzgerald followed the emigrant trail across the water during the 1960’s before immersing himself fully for the rest of his life in every facet of the sporting and cultural aspects of the GAA on the return to his native shores.
By the year 1975, the Colligan man had figured so prominently in the promotion of the GAA in the County that he was awarded the inaugural Jack Furlong trophy for services rendered and indeed it wouldn’t have been a travesty of justice if he had become the first person to receive this award on a second occasion during the remaining 44 years of his life as he gave more and more of his time in the development of the games and cultural activities in this County and beyond. Padraig Mac Gearailt was grounds man in the Fraher Field in the 1970’s and the 1980’s and he was the man at the helm when the venue witnessed some great occasions such as the All Ireland senior club hurling final in 1974 which Blackrock of Cork won against Rathnure of Wexford in front of a thronged venue by 3-8 to 1-9. The curtain raiser to this game was the All Ireland schools hurling final which St. Finbarrs of Cork won against St. Kieran’s of Kilkenny by 2-11 to 1-12. The venue being a half way house between Cork and Kilkenny, the Fraher Field was a natural choice for other major games with the organisers always sure of the fine condition of the playing surface under the stewardship of Paddy Fitzgerald. He was in the league of previous minders of the ‘Gaelic Field’ Dan Fraher and Pax Whelan and he went on to prove this with the Dungarvan club in the years ahead.
However, there were many strings to the administrative bow of the man affectionally known as Paddy Fitz. He was treasurer of the Western Board for many years while his promotion of Scor since its inception in 1969 would see him later receiving County, Provincial and National awards for his lifetime work, which included being Chairman of Waterford and Munster Scor for a number of years.
Back in the main steam of the organisation of the Association he would go on to receive a Presidential award and this was only right and proper as he gave his best for all of his life to the GAA and right up to the time of his regretted passing. Settled and working in Dungarvan and when his sons John and Kieran started playing with the Blues, Paddy followed the natural route and joined the local club and it was a lucky day for Dungarvan that he decided to do so. Paddy Fitz will forever be remembered as an icon in the Old Borough club as he became the leader of a dedicated group which delivered a home of their own for the Blues after it was over one hundred years in existence. His capabilities and enthusiasm as a fund raiser and his leadership of people saw the club purchase 22.5 acres of land in Clogherane from the IDA at the end of 1985 for a sum of 85,500 pounds. The development work began in June 1990 and the first game was played there in May 1992. Prior to the official opening of the grounds by GAA President Jack Boothman in 1994, two full length pitches, a juvenile field and a club house costing 82,000 pounds had been developed and the final payment of a total of 300,000 pounds investment in the grounds had been paid.
‘’ This achievement and the continuing development of the Blues new home in later years is the legacy in the Dungarvan club that Paddy Fitzgerald leaves behind him and his name will always be on peoples’ lips when the securing of a home which could not be achieved in the first one hundred years of the life of the club will be mentioned.’’
Padraig Mac Gearailt led the Dungarvan club as chairman from 1990 until his retirement from this position in 2004. During this period he oversaw some great days on the field of play including three in a row senior football title wins from 1990-1992. Involving himself in every facet of the club, Paddy Fitz was a selector on numerous teams including the 1993 under 16 football side that won County honours while his involvement at administrative level never waned. Given his service to the GAA, the knowledge, experience and knowledge that was accumulated over the years, many sought Paddy’s counsel and in this regard he led the Dungarvan club wisely to the end. Yes, his bark was sometimes as bad as his bite but he did it face to face and it was never personal but for the good of his club.
At the time of his death, Padraig Mac Gearailt was chairman of the fundraising committee and of the club development group. At the AGM last December, he was elected vice chair, delegate to the Western and County Boards and oifigeach na Gaeilge. He always had great respect for our teanga naisiunta and every speech he ever made at club occasions commenced as gaeilge. His last such one was on St. Stephen’s Day at the annual fundraising charity walk and run. Paddy’s final committee meeting was on January 2nd and he was to have costings for the proposed Astroturf development at the February meeting. Paddy Fitz was part and parcel of CLCG Dungarbhain until his dying day. Another legend in the story of Waterford GAA has bid farewell.
Sincere sympathy is extended to his wife Mary, children John, Kieran and Grainne and extended families. May the sod of his native land rest lightly on his noble breast. Leaba i measc na Naomh go mbeidh aige.
Dungarvan GAA extends its sincere sympathy to Mary, John, Kieran and Grainne and extended family on the death of Paddy on Thursday February 7th.
Funeral details are as follows. Reposing in Kiely funeral home from 2pm on this Saturday before removal to St. Mary’s Parish Church at 5.30pm. Funeral mass on Sunday at 12 noon and burial in the adjoining cemetery
Club members will form a guard of honour on both days and all members are requested to attend in club colours.
Refreshments will be served in the clubhouse on Saturday after the funeral and one and all are invited to come along and join the Fitzgerald family in the grounds where Paddy spent over 30 years working and dedicating his spare time for all of us.
2019 FIXTURES :
SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP:
Round 1 : v Tallow in Fraher Field Sunday March 31st at 1.30pm.
Round 2 : v Ballygunner in Walsh Park Saturday April 6th at 6pm.
Round 3 : v Clonea. TBC.
SENIOR HURLING LEAGUE :
Round 1 : v Fourmilewater in Ballymac Monday March 18th at 12 noon.
Round 2 : v Lismore in Dungarvan Saturday March 23rd at 5pm.
Roind 3 : v Tallow in Tallow Saturday April 27th at 7pm.
Round 4 : v Ballyduff in Dungarvan Saturday May 4th at 7pm.
Round 5 : v Abbeyside in Dungarvan Sunday June 9th at 12 noon.
INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL :
Round 1 : V Modeligo Friday April 19th at 7pm in Bushy Park.
JUNIOR HURLING :
Round 1 : v Fourmilewater Sunday April 7th at 12 noon.
Round 1 : v Clashmore/ Kinsalebeg at home Friday April 12th at 7pm.
Round 2 : v A Bye.
Round 3 : v Nire at home Friday May 24th at 7pm.
Round 4 : v Brickeys away Friday June 7th at 7.30pm.
Round 5 : v Kilrossanty away Friday June 14th at 7.30pm.
UNDER 19 FOOTBALL :
Round 1 : v Clashmore/ Kinsalebeg in Ardmore Sunday March 3rd at 11.30am.
Round 2 : A Bye.
Round 3: v Affane. March 23rd.
UNDER 17 FOOTBALL :
Provisional Dates :
Round 1 : v Rathormack away Sunday February 17th at 11.30am. (P0sponed).
Round 2 :v Brickeys at home on Sunday February 24th at 11.30am.
Round 3 : v St. Pats/Naomh Brid at home on Sunday March 10th. at 11.30am.
UNDER 15 FOOTBALL :
First game Saturday March 16th TBC.