THEY were friends neighbours and colleagues on and off the field, and last Friday the great Paddy Meegan was laid to rest just a few places from another Syddan and Meath GAA legend, Bill Halpenny, in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lobinstown.
Paddy, who earlier this year celebrated his 90th birthday died in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda following a short illness last Friday morning.
He was one of Meath's most decorated footballers, being a member of the great team of 1949 that brought the county its first All-Ireland senior title following victory over neighbours Cavan who were chasing a three-in-a-row. It was Paddy's darting run that resulted in Bill Halpenny scoring the Meath goal in that memorable final.
Then in 1954 he won his second All-Ireland as Meath triumphed over Kerry following a 1-13 to 1-7 success, with Paddy who lined out at top of the right, notching four points.
Included in the large attendance at the funeral were the five surviving member of the 1949 winning team, captain Brian Smyth, Paddy and Micheál O'Brien, Frankie Byrne and Seamie Heery as well as substitute Johnny Meehan.
In his homily at the funeral Mass, Parish Priest and close friend Fr Michael Sheerin spoke of Paddy's great love of the land, his love of his family, sport, poetry and life in general.
Gifts brought to the altar by Paddy's son Gerard, daughterin-law Angela, and grandsons Martin and Conor, included the football from the 1951 NFL final played in New York, a Meath jersey, a copy of Paddy's book of poetry - From The Life Around Me - and a medal from the 1932 Eucharistic Congress which Paddy was the proud possessor of.
Among those who carried Paddy to his final resting place were his former club and county team mate Tom Duff and lifelong friend and Syddan stalwart Jim Curtis.
Paddy made his Meath senior debut in the spring of 1942 and won the first of four Railway Cup medals with Leinster in 1945 and shares the distinction with Micheál O'Brien of being the only two Meath men to have won four interprovincial medals.
He captained Meath to a famous NFL success in New York, after the county had earlier beaten Mayo in the 'home' final. Paddy also had the distinction of captaining Leinster to Railway Cup success and he also represented Ireland against the Combined Universities.
A winner of four SFC medals with Syddan, Paddy handed over the Keegan Cup to then County Chairman Fr Pat Tully on behalf of his club in 1953, for the winners of the Meath senior championship. Syddan won the cup for the first and only time three years later, in 1956, with Paddy scoring 1-3 in the final win over Skryne.
Paddy is survived by his wife Olive, son Gerard, daughter-in-law Angela, grandsons Martin and Conor, sister Kitty, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.