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Big characters like late Pauric McGovern are driving force behind clubs

By Declan Bogue

The thing about Pauric McGovern was that you could almost sense him approaching along a terrace before you would see him. There would be a buzz and a stirring in the area, with remarks flying.

Yesterday, Derrylin O’Connell’s laid their former goalkeeper, lotto-ticket seller and enormous character to rest and the world has turned a little paler for his absence.

A man of natural charisma, ‘Porry’ as he was known, was once immortalised in the local newspaper saving a penalty, diving at full stretch to push the ball around the post. He obtained the photograph, got it printed onto a t-shirt and wore it to all the major county matches until it was in tatters.

Pauric (left) suffered numerous epileptic fits, but they couldn’t keep him away from playing the sport he loved, and he continued until he was 50. He was simply crazy about Gaelic football.

The serious part is that clubs rely on fanatics like Pauric to stay afloat. He was a force of nature when it came to selling club lotto tickets.

Whenever an old All-Ireland final would appear on TG4, he would hit the phone hard, calling everyone he knew, urging them to tune in.

He formed an unlikely alliance with the Dromore club in Tyrone and before the first league game of each season he would casually stroll into the team’s dressing room and shake the hands of each and every player, wishing them the best of luck for the year ahead — much to the bemusement of new managers.

After one particularly lucrative weekend selling lotto tickets in Dromore, he put his hand in his own pocket to buy the club a ball, taking great delight in presenting them with it. Plenty of people from Dromore visited him in his final days of sickness. 

People like ‘Porry’ are a splash of colour on life’s tapestry.

As one Derrylin man said on the club’s Facebook page: ‘There will be a few Derrylin lotto tickets in heaven — RIP Pauric’.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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