Sadness fell over the gentle village of Kilmacanogue last week. It may be small, but it can produce big characters, and few will be as fondly remembered as Patrick ‘Whacks’ Byrne.
Patrick sadly passed away having battled Motor Neurone Disease so bravely over these past few years.
Although he also dabbled in GAA, his true love was football. Rocky Valley Drive may have been his physical home but Ryder’s Field and Anfield were his spiritual ones.
His name goes hand-in-hand with Glencormac United. Not only was he club secretary for as long as we can remember but he also more often than not took up linesman duties at matches and God help you if you got in his way! He got to witness his beloved Glens reach the Holy Grail of Wicklow football in 2019 when they overcame Rathnew AFC in the Wicklow Cup.
The fact that the victory came less than 24 hours after Liverpool had clinched a sixth Champions League trophy means it was probably the best weekend of Whacks’ life.
Should the Glens had ever met Liverpool somehow in a European tie, it would have been interesting to see where Paddy’s allegiances lay.
He would never miss a Glencormac match and would always be a welcoming face and willing face should you need any information.
He was the kind of person and character that the Wicklow League thrives upon. Every club – or community – would be blessed to have a man like Paddy around. No ask was too big for him.
He passed away on Saturday, October 23, and the very next day, Liverpool smashed all kinds of records as they obliterated Manchester United at Old Trafford. It seems like Paddy didn’t waste time in calling in a few favours in heaven.
His presence and spirit will be missed on the sidelines throughout the county, from Plucks where he beamed at many Liverpool victories and from the village where he was so well-known and well-loved. We have all lost a friend.