BY KIERAN McCARTHY
CLONAKILTY senior manager Martin O’Brien feels Padraigh Griffin would have enjoyed the football on show at Ahamilla
An in-house tournament, organised by Clon’s senior players, was held in memory of club legend Griffin who passed away in October 2022.
The two-time Cork SFC winner had boots laced with magic, and has been described as a wizard by his former team-mate Brendan Walsh. He excited Clon supporters and tormented defences, so it’s fitting the four-team blitz in Clonakilty on Saturday was full of thrills and spills.
‘The football was open and exciting, and it was played in memory of Padraigh. In a generation where we are fixated with systems and structures, a lot of it was played off the cuff, and that’s how Padraigh played,’ explained Clon’s new senior football manager O’Brien, who was also a team-mate of Griffin.
Clon’s senior players, led by captain Mark White, approached O’Brien with this idea to remember and celebrate Griffin’s impact on his hometown club. Four teams – made up of U17s to adult players – took part in the blitz, with Mark White, Sean White, Joe Grimes and David Lowney as captains. Mark White’s Team C emerged the winners, while Ciarán Coakley of Team B was presented with the Padraig Griffin Rising Star Award. Clon captain White also presented the club’s U12s with their West Cork medals. While the football entertained, the memory that will stay with Martin O’Brien is when Mark Griffin, Padraigh’s brother, spoke to the players.
‘Sixty players took part, from adults to U17, and Mark Griffin spoke to them in the dressing-room – that will stay etched in my mind because it was heartfelt and inspiring. He gave an insight into Padraigh’s commitment to training, his dedication, and the work he did. It was very emotional and powerful, and it left an impression on the players,’ said O’Brien, whose attention will now switch to the upcoming county league. Clon kick off their Division 2 football campaign away to Carrigaline on Sunday, February 26th, and they will plan without two key players, Eoghan Deasy and Gearoid Barry, who have swapped Clonakilty for Australia.
‘They will be a huge loss and difficult to replace, but it’s an opportunity for other players on the panel to step up. We have five players involved with Cork between the seniors and U20s, so that’s seven players we won’t have with us in the league,’ O’Brien said.