Double All-Ireland winner and 1950s Mayo GAA legend Pádraig Carney described the late Garda Robert McCallion as a hero as a new pitch was poignantly rededicated to his memory in Swinford, Co Mayo yesterday.
Gda McCallion died in Apr 2009 from injuries received when he was hit by a car while on duty in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
He was honoured with a state funeral, at which his coffin was draped with the Tricolour, the Mayo flag and Swinford’s club colours.
There were emotional scenes as a sizeable crowd witnessed the unveiling and blessing of the Robert McCallion memorial pitch in the presence of Gda McCallion’s father Bob, mother Nancy, brother John and sisters Deirdre and Noreen.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny joined Gda McCallion’s family, friends, and colleagues for the ceremony ahead of a Mayo and Donegal challenge match.
Swinford club legend Dr Carney, who was known as the Flying Doc in his playing heyday, flew in from his home in California to attend the ceremony.
Dr Carney remembered Gda McCallion as a proud Swinford man who paid the ultimate price while serving his country.
Gda McCallion won an intermediate county medal with Swinford in 1999 and represented Mayo at under-21 level.
Swinford GAA chairman Michael Murtagh concluded: “In all of his endeavours, Robbie gave his utmost. As a footballer, as a friend, with his family, and in his life as a garda, he was a man who set himself high standards.”
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