Former Munster media manager Pat Geraghty ‘dripped integrity’

Funeral hears how he endured horrors of his illness ‘without a scintilla of self-pity'

The coffin of Pat Geraghty being carried out by former Munster players Anthony Horgan and Ronan O’Gara at St Patrick’s Church, Celbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Tom Honan

The coffin of Pat Geraghty being carried out by former Munster players Anthony Horgan and Ronan O’Gara at St Patrick’s Church, Celbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Former Munster rugby media manager Pat Geraghty was remembered at his funeral on Thursday as a man who “dripped integrity”.

Geraghty (63) died on Monday after a lengthy illness. Previously media manager with Leinster rugby, he joined Munster in 2000 and was there to the end of the 2012-13 season. In 2015 he was diagnosed with an aggressive, terminal brain tumour.

His wife, Irish Times journalist Kathy Sheridan, told an overflowing congregation how “we learned to live with a kind of low-grade terror” while he endured “such horrors without a scintilla of self-pity”. It meant she and their daughters, Sarah and Mary-Kate, asked “Who are we to feel sorry for ourselves? And that remains our core today”.

Through his illness they were surrounded by “a kind of solid human fortress held together with tenderness, protectiveness and immense practicality”.

Pat Geraghty’s wife, Kathy Sheridan, and their daughters Sarah and Mary-Kate at Pat’s funeral. Photograph: Tom Honan
Pat Geraghty’s wife, Kathy Sheridan, and their daughters Sarah and Mary-Kate at Pat’s funeral. Photograph: Tom Honan

Not least those women who cared for him in hospital and hospice, “beings with this extraordinary combination of deep kindness and enormous practicality,” she said.

“Pat didn’t just love women, he listened to women and he had enormous respect for them ... He was a kind of feminist without ever really knowing what the word meant,” she said.

And then there were “the men, the powerful men” who “sat with Pat and took him out for a pint and to the races”.

Men, “capable of mauling a shark with the swipe of an elbow, sent texts that simply said ‘I love you Pat Geraghty’. I love you, plain and simple. Big men. We found that wonderful.”

Then there was “The Boxer, the song that Pat made his own”. Over recent days “in the hospice as a family we were very moved from outside to hear it sung around Pat’s bedside with his band of Munster brothers,” she said.

Pat Geraghty. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Pat Geraghty. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Earned his stripes

Player Donncha O’Callaghan remembered how when he joined Muster rugby in 2000 “to say he was behind the eight ball is an understatement”.

“A proud Kildare man, educated in Clongowes with 10 years’ past experience with the enemy Leinster, it’s safe to say he’d have to earn his stripes.

“It only took him two years to become one of the most popular members of management and do something some of us still haven’t done today – Geraghty earned Peter Clohessy’s respect.”

Donncha O’Callaghan at the funeral. Photograph: Tom Honan
Donncha O’Callaghan at the funeral. Photograph: Tom Honan

Geraghty “dripped integrity, he was incredibly trustworthy, his loyalty was unquestionable. Pat didn’t have a job with Munster rugby, he had an obsession.”

“We simply loved him. We’ll never forget him.”

Main celebrant at the Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Celbridge, Co Kildare, was Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Eamonn Walsh. He remembered Geraghty as “great fun” with “ impish, mischievous wit”.

The wicker coffin was carried to the altar by Munster players Keith Earls, Niall Ronan, Mike Sherry, Denis Leamy, Damien Varley, and Johne Murphy and from the church by Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara, Alan Quinlan, Frankie Sheahan, Mick O’Driscoll and Anthony Horgan. Among the Munster rugby attendance were former Ireland coach Declan Kidney, Mick Galwey and Jerry Holland. Leinster player Rob Kearney was also in attendance.

A large media contingent included current and former colleagues of Kathy Sheridan’s from The Irish Times as well as rugby journalists Gerry Thornley and Tony Ward.