Killarney ground to a standstill shortly after darkness fell on Sunday night as the town and its people said an emotional farewell to Pádraig Harnett.
The sports reporter and broadcaster, who possessed one the most instantly recognisable voices in Kerry through his radio work, was greatly admired and hugely appreciated by the local sports clubs, community organisations and youth groups to which he donated so much of his time and effort, very frequently on an entirely voluntary basis.
And none appreciated him more than his beloved Killarney Celtic FC, the club he represented so efficiently, the club he helped to develop and prosper, the club in which he had so many close friends, the club he loved.
With his coffin draped in the green and white of Celtic, club officials, members and players staged a very moving guard of honour as the cortege left O’Shea’s Funeral Home.
They flanked the hearse on both sides as it slowly wound its way along New Street and on to High Street before the removal progressed on to the Church of the Immaculate Conception close to Pádraig’s home in Currow.
As the hearse reached the top of the town, mourners joined in a spontaneous and prolonged round of applause in grateful appreciation for all Pádraig did and to acknowledge a life well lived that was cut far too short by a brief illness.
A statement issued by Celtic said everybody in the club was deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely passing of the club stalwart who is a former chairman, secretary and PRO and a great worker behind the scenes.
“Pádraig was a hugely influential and knowledgeable figure who dedicated his life’s work to the sport he loved. He was popular affable and a mine of information,” the club stated.
“A dark cloud has descended on sport in Kerry and our thoughts and prayers are with those closest to him. We will miss him terribly”.
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