Gallery: Thousands turn out to walk with Paudie
FORMER Kerry football star Paudie O'Mahony is some man to pull in a crowd. On Saturday he went for a walk in Killarney and an estimated 3,000 people joined him.
Paudie is an Operation Transformation Team Leader on a mission to lose weight and reinvigorate his life. And he wasn't lacking support from the public and from his team-mates on the 1975 All-Ireland winning Kerry team who joined him for a 10km walk in the park.
The rain stayed away for the mega 'Let's Get Kerry Walking - Operation Transformation Walk' in which walkers chose between a 5km route or a more challenging 10km option. Whatever the selection, the scenery was first class as walkers left from Mission Road at 12.30pm, making their way through Killarney National Park and Killarney Golf and Fishing Club.
And they were certainly motivated from the start as participants availed of an entertaining warm-up led out by Frank Fahey. Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh then introduced Paudie who arrived pushing his grandson Dáithí in a buggy and the 1975 Kerry team members were also given a huge cheer as they were introduced.
"One thing for sure is that, without the support of the volunteers, an event like this simply doesn't happen," Event Organiser Córa Carrig of the Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership said.
"We had huge assistance from our voluntary team of walk leaders, registration officials from Spa & Beaufort GAA clubs, Farranfore Maine Valley AC, Kerry Volunteer Bureau, as well as Civil Defence & Order of Malta members.
"Personnel from An Garda Síochana, Killarney National Park, Killarney Town Council, Killarney Golf & Fishing Club and Killarney Chamber of Commerce were also on hand which made the event the success it was," she added.
Afterwards participants were treated to a healthy option meal and complimentary teas and coffees, all co-ordinated by Killarney Chamber of Commerce.
A team leader in RTE's Operation Transformation show, Paudie has received huge support locally as he pounds the streets of Killarney on a daily basis and his efforts are certainly paying off.
On last week's TV show Paudie dropped a whopping 10.5lbs from his original weight of 20 stone 5.5lbs and, stepping onto the scales for the John Murray Show on Monday, he again beat his target weight loss. Now weighing in at 19 stone 3.5lbs - a loss of 5.5lbs - Paudie is impressing the experts on the RTE show but he has been warned not to overdo it.
"I got an adrenaline rush during the walk in Killarney as I had great support from my former 1975 team-mates. I feel 10 years younger already," he said.
Operation Transformation walks took place in 42 locations around Ireland, the highest number since the TV series started.