OBITUARY Paddy Mullins was immersed in the sporting life of his home town Clonmel

OBITUARY Paddy Mullins was immersed in the sporting life of his home town Clonmel

The late Paddy Mullins, Clonmel, who died recently.

The town of Clonmel lost a true character and a real sporting enthusiast when Paddy Mullins passed away on January 3rd last at South Tipperary General Hospital.

Paddy was born on November 14th 1938 to Jim Mullins from the Old Bridge, Clonmel and Josephine Mullins (neé Brett) from Killusty. The family also included his sisters Theresa, Mary and Kathleen O'Shea.

Paddy married Bridget McGrath from Tooraneena, Co. Waterford in 1958. Bridget is also very interested in sport and in her younger years was a keen athlete.

Paddy and Bridget had five children - Vincent, Desmond, Jacinta, Seamus and Paul. Paddy introduced Vincent, Dessie and Jacinta to athletics in the early 1970s, when they competed with St. Patrick's athletic club in Fethard, as there was no juvenile athletics club in Clonmel at the time - and Paddy was an inspiration behind the Fethard club's success- while Seamus and Paul competed in the Community Games in later years.

Paddy and Bridget showed great interest in coaching and advising their children in life and sport and were very proud of their achievements. They were also proud of their grandchildren and great grandchildren and their sporting success in recent years, as well as their willingness to help others.

In the 1950s Paddy became a member of the Boys Club, which was based in Sarsfield Street across the road from the Clonmel Arms Hotel. This was a very successful club that catered for Clonmel's youth. Paddy made many friends at the club including his great friend Tony Harte, as well as Johnny Powell and many more.

Paddy was a great family man who at a very early age was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which affected his mobility for the rest of his life. However he always had a positive attitude to life, which rubbed off on people around him.

In the early years, when Paddy was unable to work, Bridget went out to work and was the strength behind the family.

Paddy always looked forward to visits home by his sister Theresa, her husband John and family from England, when they loved to reminisce about times past. Paddy had a great memory and was also a great storyteller.

Over the short number of years that Paddy competed in sport, and before his children were born, he was a talented athlete in track and field events. He was also regarded as one of the finest footballers to represent Ss Peter and Paul's school and also played football with the Old Bridge and St. Luke's. 

Paddy and his close friend Joe Holden, one of the founder members of Clonmel Athletic Club's very strong juvenile club; and Bridget were behind the organisation and success of Community Games in Clonmel.

Paddy was also a founder member of Clonmel Shamrocks AC, which catered for senior athletes. With a small number of members they won Munster and All-Ireland senior medals. The Shamrocks and Clonmel AC joined forces in the mid 1970s at a time when athletics was very strong in the town. 

Paddy met so many great people through his involvement in athletics including Joe Holden, Brother Luke from Fethard, Michael Guinan from Killenaule, Breeda Christie from Tipperary and Sean Naughton from Nenagh, and his love of the sport remained with him to the very end.

Hurling was also part and parcel of the Mullins household and Bridget always made sure there were enough ice cubes in the fridge after each hurling match.Paddy and Bridget encouraged their children to play the game from a very young age. Paddy had a great love for St. Mary's Hurling Club and the Tipperary county teams and went to as many games as possible.

Paddy also loved the craic and and was renowned as a great "ball hopper", usually at the GAA Centre in Clonmel. He had a great sense of humour and after a few pints and a game of cards he often gave a rendition of the song 'James Connolly'.

During his long number of years involvement with the GAA he made many friends, especially in the St. Mary's club where they included Jimmy Collins, Seamus Leahy, Billy Carroll, Francis Pyke, Bill Peters, Jimmy Doyle and Billy Doyle.

He also had great time for Clonmel Commercials football club and he had many great friends in that club too including John McNamara, Timmy Ryan, Mick Egan, Peter Powell, Tom Pollard and Micheál O'Meara.

The Mullins family are very grateful to all those who supported them during the sad time of Paddy's death.

When a person you love becomes a memory the memory becomes a treasure.

- Vincent Mullins 

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