“His family was everything to him,” the funeral was told.
Hundreds attended the requiem mass of Paudie Palmer (65) who lost his battle for life last Sunday after suffering critical injuries in a west Cork road traffic incident ten days earlier.
Innishannon, Co Cork – Paudie’s adopted home after he moved to Cork to teach from his native Kerry – came to a standstill as people who welcomed the broadcaster into their homes each weekend for thrilling radio updates on GAA club matches gathered to pay their last respects.
Mr Palmer, an uncle of model Claudine Keane, commentated on Gaelic games for Cork radio stations 96FM/C103FM and ranked as one of the most beloved sports broadcasters in the south west.
In a tribute, his flag-covered coffin was carried from the village centre to St Mary’s Church in relay by honour guards drawn from Valley Rovers GAA club, Templenoe GAA club and St Brogan’s secondary school where Mr Palmer taught for more than 40 years.
The mourners following the cortege were led by his wife Colette and daughters Claire and Emily.
Mr Palmer was godfather to Claudine Keane, who is married to former Ireland international Robbie Keane.
The couple, with their children, followed the cortege on foot to St Mary’s Church.
Mr Palmer is also survived by his brothers Denis, Richie and John as well as his extended family.
Earlier, his funeral cortege had paused outside the GAA pitch, St Brogan’s school and the C03FM studios in Bandon from where he regularly broadcast.
His brothers Denis and Johnny delivered a eulogy to the 65-year-old who had successfully defied a serious illness diagnosis in 2019 to fully recover. But he suffered severe injuries in a road traffic incident on December 29.
However, his family said he had got to spend Christmas with his adored first grandchild, Lucas Padraig.
Denis Palmer said the tributes to Paudie had helped comfort his entire family in a time of unbearable grief.
“Thank you to the thousands of people who gathered from every corner of the country to pay their respects – many standing for hours in the rain. It has been an overwhelming amount of support,” he said.
“It is a testimony to Paudie and how he was loved. It has been a huge comfort in these difficult days.
“There are so many words to describe Paudie – witty, patient, selfless and generous with his time, optimistic, a true rogue, never judgemental and a good listener. But the words that sum him up most are family orientated.”
“His family was everything to him. Everybody gravitated towards him because of the type of person he was. A lovely, honest, good human being and a very genuine person. He would always lend a hand.”
Mr Palmer was renowned for his passionate style of broadcasting, his deep knowledge of Gaelic games as well as his sharp sense of humour.
His brothers said his broadcasting style was unique in its kindness and generosity.
“He accidentally found his gift as a natural commentator. The beauty of the man was never to cause hurt to anyone for their efforts on or off the field regardless of how bad the situation might be. For him sport and life was to be enjoyed and cherished,” Denis said.
Johnny Palmer said Colette, Claire and Emily were the pride of Paudie’s life.
“A person is only who he or she is by the people that they are surrounded by,” he said.
Mr Palmer said his brother’s strength was his wife and daughters – with Colette hailed as “the love of his life.”
“Paudie’s absolute positivity got him to where he was: the last 12 to 15 months in particular got him back to doing the things he loved. One of the proudest moments of Paudie’s life was when his grandson Lucas arrived on September 18. We thank the Lord for that. He thoroughly enjoyed spending his first Christmas with him this year.”
“Rest in peace, Paudie. We love you and miss you always.”
Mr Palmer’s two daughters said he was the greatest father any child could ask for.
“On behalf of my mum Colette and sister Emily we would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and well wishes over the last number of days,” Claire said.
“Our Dad meant absolutely everything to us and our world has been turned upside down ever since the news broke about his tragic accident on December 29.
“We would like to sincerely thank all at Bandon Garda Station, the medical personnel for helping and treating Dad the morning of the accident and all who took such good care of him in Cork University Hospital.
“Our lives will never be the same and there has been a piece of all three of us lost forever more. Dad was looking forward to this year for so many reasons but being able to see his grandson Lucas grow and learn every week made his day.
“Dad, although you cannot be with us any more you can rest easy knowing that your three girls will be well minded, having such as close knit family rallying around us.
“We will find the strength to get through this. Know that we loved you so very much and were proud to call Paudie Palmer our Dad. Sleep tight, all our love, your three girls.”
Hundreds attended St Mary’s from almost every GAA club in Cork and Kerry to pay tribute to the former teacher at St Brogan’s in Bandon.
Many wore club colours as a mark of respect to Mr Palmer whose broadcasts were listened to in homes across Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford.
Amongst the mourners were C103FM/96FM managing director Kieran McGeary, Cork GAA stars Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Alan Quirke, author Alice Taylor and Munster GAA Council PRO Bob Ryan.
The requiem mass was celebrated by Fr Finbarr Crowley with the offertory gifts reflecting the loves of Mr Palmer’s life including a family photo, a school biology textbook and a podcast tripod.
His family had asked that instead of flowers that mourners consider making a donation to the Dunmanway Day Unit at Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Mr Palmer died in CUH last Sunday, having been in a critical condition following a road traffic incident outside Innishannon in West Cork on December 29.
A man has since appeared before Bandon District Court on four counts in relation to the incident.
Tributes to Mr Palmer were paid by Tánaiste Micheál Martin, a keen GAA fan, by 96FM/C103FM director Kieran McGeary as well as by Cork and Kerry GAA officials.
Claudine Keane paid an emotional tribute to her uncle after what has been a heartbreaking three months for her family.
Over Christmas the Keane family suffered the loss of Robbie’s grandmother, Bernadette Keane, who passed away in Dublin.
The footballer’s mother, Anne, died in October after a battle against lung cancer.