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GAA unites in grief to bid farewell to the 'rock' behind Kerry legend Micko

By Majella O'Sullivan

His dad Micko might be known the length and breadth of the country, but according to John O'Dwyer, at home there was only one legend -- his mum Mary Carmel.

In a moving tribute to his mother, Mr O'Dwyer recalled the woman some referred to as "an institution".

Hundreds of mourners attended Mrs O'Dwyer's funeral Mass at St Finan's Church in Waterville, Co Kerry at the weekend.

The packed parish church was too small to take the large crowd that spilled out into the churchyard.

Mrs O'Dwyer, who was 71, passed away at the Bon Secours Hospital in Tralee on Wednesday, surrounded by her husband and family.

Her son said that despite her failing health, she had squeezed everything out of life, "burning out three pacemakers".

Known as a plain talker and someone who wasn't afraid to speak her mind, Mrs O'Dwyer was also remembered as a kind, caring, generous and hardworking woman and the "rock" behind her famous husband.

"Her family was everything to her. When Dad left the house, he became Micko O'Dwyer, but the minute the door opened and he came back, he was 'Michael'," he added.

And although his father's life was all about football, he revealed this wasn't the case for his mother.

"She never watched matches, she never had any interest in them and she'd go to bed when there were matches on. She'd come downstairs then and ask: 'How did he get on?'

"And if she was told that they'd lost, all she'd say was: 'Oh, eff it. Bord Failte's around for the summer!"

Symbols of her life brought to the altar included her prayer book, a crossword, her hat and gloves and a can of tonic water, the mixer she choose for her favourite tipple.

The three most important things to Mrs O'Dwyer were her family, her community work and her faith, said parish priest Fr John Kerrin.

Among the mourners were some well-known GAA figures including Kerry legend Mick O'Connell; former GAA president and MEP Sean Kelly; current Kerry senior footballer Bryan Sheehan; chairman of the county board, Pat O'Sullivan; and past players Johnny Culloty, DJ Crowley and Eoin Liston.

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