Wednesday 13 November 2019

Alan Quinlan: Pat Geraghty was a wonderful Munster man through thick and thin

Shoulder to shoulder - Pat Geraghty and Alan Quinlan in 2009. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile
Shoulder to shoulder - Pat Geraghty and Alan Quinlan in 2009. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile
Alan Quinlan

Alan Quinlan

Pat Geraghty might have arrived at Thomond Park a Leinster man but there was no doubting his loyalty when he was with us, and by the time he left he was Munster through and through.

Officially, he was our media manager but his remit often went well beyond that. There were countless times where his watchful nature saw him acting more like a security guard, whether that was to protect players from themselves during interviews or to deal with unwanted guests.

During a captain's run ahead of the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Stade Francais in Paris in 2002, Peter Clohessy asked Pat to get rid of a local who appeared to be spying on our session. Alan English referred to the incident in his book 'Our Road to Glory'.

Pat seemed like the right man for the job because he had a bit of French. But when Pat approached the guy, the intruder just kept saying 'comprend pas, comprend pas'.

Pat, ever the character, got frustrated and replied 'vouz comprendez f*** off?', before grabbing the fella's phone and a bit of a scuffle ensued. He was part of our fabric like that, one of the lads.

I saw that side of him too when I started working with Sky Sports.

Myself and two media colleagues were in UL watching Munster train.

Pat, despite being a great friend, quickly informed us that it was a closed session. I thought he was joking. But he took his job very seriously and quickly informed me: 'Look, are you media now or what? If you're media, you can't be here for this.'

He was a brilliant character, he got on well with everybody, was really down to earth. He loved having the craic with the players and was regularly part of the sing-songs during our most successful days.

He also had a great human side; if someone had a bit of personal strife, had an injury or had been dropped, Pat was always there with an arm around the shoulder. When I got suspended for the Lions tour in 2009, he seemed to be sadder about it than I was, he cared that much.

All of the players' parents loved him too, which was illustrated by how many of them were at his funeral on Thursday. He always sorted tickets for the families. My mum even ended up in the press box a few times over the years when she was struggling for tickets.

Pat finished a couple of years ago with Munster and it felt like the end of an era, he was that big a presence among that team.

He was one of us, someone the players loved, and he'll be greatly missed.

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