Patsy Kieran: Talented schoolboy footballer, teacher and devoted family man
1953 was a busy year on the football field for Patsy Kieran.
At 18 years old, the classy Crossmaglen player lined out at midfield for Armagh in the first round of the Ulster Championship.
He also captained the county minors who won the Ulster title and the MacRory Cup-winning team from St Patrick’s, Armagh.
In the same year, he captained St Patrick's to Rannafast Cup success and represented Ulster in a schoolboys All-Ireland series.
But when the Armagh minors played Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final, Patsy got injured when the game was only five minutes old. It was a huge blow and Mayo went on to win.
He would play no more football in what was a huge year for the Orchard county, who reached the All-Ireland senior final but were beaten by Kerry.
How it might have been different had Patsy not been injured.
1954 saw he and clubmates Gene Morgan and Frank Kernan win an Ulster medal when Armagh beat Cavan in the final.
But the following years were tough, emigration was rife and Cross suffered like so many other clubs.
Patsy suffered several injuries and his playing career ended in 1958.
Brought up in Crossmaglen and nearby Glassdrumond, he studied at Queen's University briefly before leaving for England to work in construction.
He later returned to his studies and taught in schools in London and Liverpool before coming home and teaching in Forkhill.
Patsy then joined the literary service of the Southern education board, a job he loved as he travelled between schools.
He was a great family man, devoted to his wife Paula and their sons Thomas, Paddy and Stephen.
Patsy knew first hand how cruel life can be, their only daughter Siobhean dying in infancy.
He then suffered an immeasurable loss in 1991 when Paula died in a road accident, leaving a huge void in his and their three sons' lives.
In later years, Patsy’s life was centred around his grandchildren whom he doted on.
He remained a dedicated and loyal supporter of Crossmaglen Rangers and was delighted with all their successes.
The messages of sympathy received by the family and many tributes posted about Patsy are fitting for a life so fulfilled and well lived.
Patsy Kieran died aged 84 on March 16.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Roisin Murtagh, Crossmaglen Rangers GAC