Lives Remembered

From magic sponge to bingo caller, Pearse Óg stalwart Patsy Duffy was one of life's true gentleman

Patsy Duffy was a former president of Pearse Óg GAC in Armagh

WITH the passing of Patsy Duffy, the Pearse Óg football club in Armagh lost one of its most dedicated members and his family a most loving father.

Patsy was a truly generous person, giving freely of his time and commitment to the full range of club activities.

Always with a natural smile and warm embrace, in his own quiet manner he did whatever job, large or small, required doing.

It was a testimony to his popularity within the club and wider community that so many attended both his wake and funeral.

Patsy was born in Crossmaglen in 1933 and came to Armagh as a 16-year-old to work in Low Mill.

In the early 1950s he moved to Wolverhampton with his beloved wife Mary, working as a tram driver. But the call of home was strong and he returned to Ireland, first to Mary's native Portadown and then Armagh, where for the next 60 years he lived in the D'alton Estate.

There he and Mary raised their young family of three boys, Peter, Tony and Patrick, and daughters Olive and Frances.

He took a leading role within the D'alton Tenants Association in the early 1970s, during a time of rising tension and civil unrest.

But Patsy was really in his element when he involved himself with the local Pearse Óg club, quickly setting to work with the various teams in several different roles.

Many an Ógs player will remember Patsy as the man with the 'magic sponge', sprinting out to provide first aid on the field.

Those of an older generation will recall him as the voice of the club bingo, both in the old club rooms in Drumarg and later over at D'alton.

He and Mary also helped ensure that visiting teams sampled Pearse Óg after-match hospitality, with tea and sandwiches always at hand.

Patsy's proudest moment with the Ógs was in 1985 when they won their first ever Armagh Senior Championship, beating old city rivals Armagh Harps.

He was so sure of victory that he tempted fate by having secretly made a "'85 Ógs Co Champs" banner which he proudly unfurled, doing likewise in '88 and '92.

Patsy was elected club president in 1996 and deemed this to be a great personal honour.

In 2003 he was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame, and it was a most fitting tribute that players from the 1985 team provided the guard of honour at his cortège.

He leaves a void now for both family and club, but many happy memories will remain of one of life's true gentlemen.

Patsy's funeral Mass took place at St Malachy's Church on December 7 and he was interred beside his beloved wife in St Patrick's Cemetery.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam usual.

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