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Thursday 14 December 2017

It's all white - but Pat's not Down and out

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE lonely Co Down flag looks out of place in rural Rathangan -- the heartland of the Lilywhites.

Pat McGivern moved to the village after he fell in love while on a work trip in Co Kildare in 1969.

The grandfather of six, who is from a 'staunch' northern GAA community, settled in his wife's home place. Nowadays he is assistant treasurer of the Rathangan GFC and his daughter Aine even played ladies football for Kildare.

However, it hasn't always been plain sailing in Pat's house as he is a lone voice for his native Down and is outnumbered by his wife and six children -- Carol Byrne, Alison McMullen, Paraic McGivern, Declan McGivern, Valerie Gorey and Aine McGivern.

"We've had a couple of league matches over the years involving the two counties where I'd be keeping quiet. I'd be saying nothing. If Kildare won, the crowd would be sneering.

"I remember one match in particular, over in Newbridge. Kildare was beating Down and I was in the crowd and they started to jeer but it didn't last long -- Down scored three goals in the second half -- that shut them up."

Pat, who supported Burren GAA club in Co Down, spends much of his free time with Rathangan GFC these days. "The two boys play with Rathangan and the girls also played."

If Down lose in Sunday's all-Ireland semi-final football clash against Kildare, at least Pat will be cheering for his second favourite team in the final.

"I won't be too disappointed at the end of it -- I'll be happy enough, whatever happens. I can shout for whomever I like the next time."

However, he hopes the prediction of Kildare's infamous psychic chicken named Rocky -- Ireland's answer to Paul the Octopus -- comes true. Rocky, who has so far accurately predicted the All-Ireland championship results, is backing Down. "I think it'll be 1-15 Down, 1-13 Kildare. It'll be tight," added Pat.

Irish Independent

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