Students from a North Galway school gave a standing ovation to a 93 years old local man who comfortably completed a five mile walk for charity.
And Paddy Coleman from Garrafrauns, from a strong GAA background, admitted that he hasn’t “an ache or a pain” and really enjoyed the experience.
In fact, Paddy has participated in the past three walks organised by Dunmore Community School and was proudly joined by his daughter Jean Ryan and her two sons Sean and Dara. And he is still hale and hearty.
He is still a very familiar face at GAA matches and has been a Dunmore MacHales GAA Club stalwart for many years. He is the brother of the legendary Bertie Coleman who passed away back in 2007 and is the father of John and Pat Coleman who represented the club at the highest level.
But the enthusiasm with which he was greeted by the students of Dunmore Community School after he completed the walk proved very emotional for Paddy who has always kept fit throughout his life. The students were amazed by his stamina.
“It’s great, I don’t have an ache or a pain”, he told the Connacht Tribune after completing the walk. He was joined by various family members on the event who left him to his own devices along the route.
Paddy came from Cappagh, a small village outside Dunmore and had three brothers, Bertie, Cecil and Kevin. He won a county medal with Dunmore back in 1953 when they defeated Oughterard in the final and remains a keen cyclist.
Back in 1952 Paddy married Mary Agnes Nestor and they had nine children. Paddy and Mary Agnes owned a shop and a bar in The Square in Dunmore and ran a terrific business to support their children.
Paddy drove lorries for the local merchant, Collins, bringing eggs and flour from Dunmore to Dublin. He also drove lorries for Coca Cola as well as the local school bus.
Paddy has always had a great love for the GAA and has spent nearly every Sunday of his life going to matches all around the country. A loyal Galway supporter, this year alone he travelled as far as Letterkenny and then more locally to Pearse Stadium to support the Galway footballers.
His grandson, Sean Ryan said that Paddy is also frequently seen around Dunmore on his bicycle and often cycles in and out from Garrafrauns to the town.
“Paddy, in fact, was one of the first people in the county to own an electric bicycle, which he purchased in Holland,” Sean said.
Paddy has 21 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren and shows great interest in all of their outdoor pursuits.
“He is an extremely positive person who always sees the brighter side of life. Every day he says he had a great day, whether it was farming, watching a match, visiting his children, reading a book, listening to music or simply relaxing,” Sean added.
Paddy told to the Connacht Tribune that: “I may as well do it now, because when I get old I won’t be able to”.