A hugely popular Killarney Garda, who passed away last year following a short battle with cancer, has been fondly remembered at a football tournament for schoolchildren that he helped to organise every year.
Father of two Paudie Twohig was just 44 years of age when he died last August and his passing was greatly mourned in Killarney where he was really valued and appreciated as he set about his duties as a Garda with the utmost professionalism, skill, compassion and fairness.
A native of Ballinagree, Co Cork, Paudie was a fine footballer with Aghinagh GAA Club and he helped his Garda colleagues to organise the fun-filled but competitive seven-a-side primary school blitz in Fitzgerald Stadium every year.
This year main organiser Eddie Walsh dedicated the event to his former colleague and Paudie’s wife, Diane, their children, Tara Grace and Olivia Hope, and other members of the Twohig family were in attendance.
Also there on the day were Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster and Superintendent Flor Murphy and Sergeant in Charge at Killarney Garda Station Dermot O’Connell.
Balloons were released to mark Paudie’s life and, fittingly, they were in the colours of his native Cork, his home GAA cub and the blue of An Garda Siochana.
Paudie’s wife, Diane, also a Garda in Killarney, said he loved the annual tournament and she thanked Eddie Walsh for paying tribute to him.
“Paudie loved all sports, especially football, and he would be so proud that Tara Grace is following her daddy’s footballing footsteps,” she said.
“It didn’t matter to Paudie if it was underage, junior or senior or what county was playing – he watched it all and he loved the skill, the friendships made and the challenge of each game,” Diane added.
She told the children competing in Fitzgerald Stadium to play to always play to win but never forget why they play, the friends they make and the pride of wearing the jersey.
A total of 270 children representing 18 primary schools, took part in the 16th annual blitz with Kenmare – supervised by Kerry GAA star Tadhg Morley – overcoming Fossa on a 3-5 to 2-7 scoreline in an engaging final with the teams led out onto the field by Garda Mike Milner playing the bagpipes.
The winners were presented with the Tadhg O’Suilleabháin Memorial Cup to honour the late Lissivigeen National School principal who established the first national schools’ competition for young footballers in East Kerry in 1954.
Pictures: Marie Carroll O’Sullivan, The Little Memory Gallery
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