A packed clubhouse in Corinthian Park gathered to pay tribute to a true legend on Saturday evening while also raising funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association. Paddy Flynn was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers from the moment he arrived with his tribute part of a major fundraising event at the club.
The evening got off to a fun start with the legends of Corinthians and Galwegians meeting on the field for a game that entertained and enthralled the crowd. Stars of a previous era all gave their time for a good cause and while the result is not that important, the moment after the game when both teams acknowledged the guest of honour who was watching the game from the clubhouse certainly was.
For the record, Corinthians won after a kick off but Peter Bracken certainly comes in for special mention with the former Connacht Prop and European Cup winner with London Wasps as he would take the first of the penalties. Following the presentation of the Ken Dolan Cup to Corinthians Captain John Dilleen, MC John Mulligan had a surprise up his sleeve as he then presented Paddy with the This is Your Life book and for the next hour those present were treated to stories of Paddy’s life from his early days in BloomhilL to his days with Connacht and more recently his influence as a coach and mentor.
With his wife Marion at his side, Paddy was greeted by guests including his brother Johnny, Donie Whyte, Ciaran Smyth, John Connolly, Joe Gorham, Niall Browne and Noel Mannion with special video messages from his brother and sister Martin and Maureen who unfortunately could not be there but sent their best wishes, Irish Rugby legend Ollie Campbell, members of Portadown RFC who Paddy visited on many occasions with his U20 teams, former Connacht coach George Hook with an amazing tribute paid by Christy Moore who had played with Paddy during his time with Corinthians in the late 1960s.
Even with the book closed and handed over, there was still one very important role for Paddy to do as it was also announced that Connacht and Ireland winger Mack Hansen would officially be made a Corinthian. Paddy officially handed the Corinthians shirt to Hansen.
An event like this would not have been possible without the total involvement of the club but a special mention must go to Fergal Leonard, Niall Browne, Rob Dolan and John Mulligan who had worked tirelessly over the past number of weeks to make it a success.
Further thanks must go to Corinthians Chairman Pearce Flannery, Secretary Kieran Dolan and the executive committee at the club, all the sponsors and all who gave their time and expertise to make the night the success it was. Finally, a word for Paddy. Ever since his diagnosis, he has faced the disease with incredible dignity and Saturday evening showed the love and respect that is there for him.
The night was his night and he was truly the star of the show. Galway Corinthians would like to thank the following... Main Sponsor DNG Maxwell Heaslip & Leonard. Other sponsors: Tonery’s Bar, Loughnane’s of Galway, Corrib Catering, DJ Mark Kavanagh, Willie Johnstone & Yvonne Comer of Rugby Smarts, Kenny’s Bindery who sponsored the book, Club Chairman Pearce Flannery & Club Secretary Kieran Dolan, Tom Glynn, Joe Hansberry and all the bar staff. the U16 Squad who sold tickets on the evening, and all the Club Volunteers who made it possible with car parking and everyone who made the grounds look in perfect condition.
Remember, the fundraising page is still open so please give generously to a great cause. https://gofund.me/3029f240