Moira man Paddy Allen “defined sport”, mourners at his funeral heard this afternoon.
The popular 35-year-old, who died suddenly on Sunday, was laid to rest in the churchyard at St John’s Church of Ireland in Moira following a service at the same venue.
Rev Paul McAdam said: “Paddy was one of life’s real characters and a true gentleman. In (his mother) Margaret’s words, ‘Paddy just defined sport’. From an early age, a ball always played a major part of Paddy’s life.”
He spoke of Paddy’s prowess as a rugby player and cricketer at Methody, and later with Lurgan and Waringstown.
He was also well-known within the world of horse racing and point-to-point: “Moira Cross Country and Schooling Gallops was begun by his dad Jim – but since Jim’s passing just over three years ago, Paddy and his mum have worked to develop the business further – and it has grown beyond their wildest dreams. His dad would be very proud.”
Rev McAdam said that Paddy was “known to fans and players alike” at Glenavon FC.
He commented: “Paddy had a sort of infectious optimism about him – even when his team were losing, he never gave up hope that the game could be turned around.”
He added: “Through his love of sport and involvement in such a wide range of sport, Paddy had made so many good friends – and all will be shocked and saddened by his sudden passing. He was one of life’s true characters – both on and off the field.
“He always had the right words at will and a story for everyone. He loved to sing and often was the last man standing at social gatherings.
“It can be hard for us to understand why someone would be taken at such a young age. Only God knows why it is granted to some to hit a century, while to others, only a short innings.”