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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Tributes paid to Paddy Clarke

Clarke was best known, nationally, for his four-year stint as Louth senior manager from 1997 to 2001. Pic: Sportsfile
Clarke was best known, nationally, for his four-year stint as Louth senior manager from 1997 to 2001. Pic: Sportsfile

Paddy Clarke, the hugely respected football coach and genial former manager of Louth, has died following an illness.

Tributes poured in from many quarters after the news broke yesterday of Clarke's sad passing.

The Drogheda man's memory was honoured in a minute's silence before yesterday's Leinster club SFC quarter-final between Kilmacud and Dunboyne in Navan.

Clarke was best known, nationally, for his four-year stint as Louth senior manager from 1997 to 2001. Perhaps his most notable achievement there was leading his native county to an Allianz League Division 2 title in 2000. He also served as assistant to Ireland International Rules manager Brian McEniff.

His coaching left an indelible mark at club level, where he achieved championship wins in five counties - Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Cavan and Dublin.

Clarke was co-manager with Gerry McEntee when St Brigid's of Blanchardstown won their maiden Dublin SFC title in 2003, en route to conquering Leinster.

Former Dublin footballer Declan Lally played on that Brigid's team. "Very sad to hear of the death of my former manager Paddy Clarke," Lally tweeted yesterday.

"A gentleman - a serious coach and football brain. May he rest in peace."

Incoming Meath coach Colm Nally, who made his Louth goalkeeping debut under Clarke, also paid glowing tribute on LMFM Radio.

"Paddy would have inspired me, and he would have inspired numerous teams that he coached," said Nally. "When you think about what inspiration is, it's breathing life into things. So, even down to the most mundane training sessions, Paddy would breathe life into it."

ST BRIGID'S, the club that the late Paddy Clarke once co-managed, preserved their Dublin AFL1 status when they defeated St Sylvester's 3-15 to 1-9 in their top-flight relegation play-off at Russell Park yesterday morning.

Mal Tighe was the scoring hero for the home side, who had new manager Keith Barr in charge for the first time, as he hit 2-4 (all from play) to see his side cruise to victory with Philly Ryan adding the third goal late on.

St Sylvester's will now join Naomh Olaf and Castleknock in sliding down to AFL Division 2 for next season with Templeogue Synge Street, Fingallians and Skerries Harps promoted.

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