Pat Geraghty was an adopted son of Munster

There are tributes and then there is the Donncha O’Callaghan variety, as hundreds of mourners learned yesterday at the funeral Mass for the late Munster Rugby media manager Pat Geraghty, 62, in Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Pat Geraghty was an adopted son of Munster

The death notice of Geraghty, of Wheatfield, Ardclough, said he was of Kildare, Cork, and Limerick. He was from all Munster points between and beyond as well after he adopted the province and the province adopted him.

O’Callaghan spoke on behalf of hundreds of Munster players when he described the relationship between Geraghty and the athletes as fun-filled and one of great love.

It was an emotional address but the iconic Munster, Ireland, and British and Irish Lion, now captain of Worcester Warriors, delivered it as Geraghty would have liked; More a celebration of life than mourning a death.

O’Callaghan outlined the respect the Leinster man was held in over 14 years at the helm as media manager down south, describing him as a friend, a protector, and even a father figure to some.

“Pat Geraghty walked into the Munster dressing room for the first time in the year 2000. To say he was behind the eight ball was an understatement. A proud Kildare man, he was educated in Clongowes, had 10 years’ past experience with the enemy called Leinster, and it’s safe to say he had to earn his stripes.

“It only took two years for him to become the most popular member of management and he did something that some people haven’t yet managed — he earned Peter Clohessy’s respect. It only took a physical confrontation and a broken camcorder to get it.

“Munster were playing away in the Heineken Cup with Stade Francais in 2002. The day before the game, Mick Galwey was taking the team on a captain’s run when it was noted that there was a suspicious looking Frenchman recording the lineouts. Claw, or ‘the law’ as he was known in those days, gave the order: ‘Geraghty, go down there and get that man out’, though not in those words. Pat was as fluent in French as Del Boy and remonstrated (in broken French/English) with the guy. Without going into much detail, the Frenchman left with a broken camcorder, a black eye, and 30 of us singing the Rocky theme tune!

“Those moments were proof of what Pat would do for us. He would do anything for us, he drank integrity, his loyalty was unquestionable, he was incredibly trustworthy. Pat didn’t have a job with Munster Rugby, he had an obsession. As players, we worked so hard to leave a legacy that trophies act as a measurement. Pat didn’t win trophies, his legacy isn’t engraved on a cup; it’s engraved in our hearts.”

The tributes poured in before and after the funeral. Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara, Alan Quinlan, Mick O’Driscoll, Frankie Sheahan, and Anthony Horgan paid their respects along with the Kearney brothers Rob and Dave, plus many more.

“The biggest thing you could say about him was that he was a players’ man and I think you will have seen that in the funeral, the amount of players who turned up, people who travelled from abroad even. He was highly respected in every sense and he will be a big loss to the game and an absolutely huge loss to Munster,” said O’Connell.

The late Pat Geraghty is survived by his wife Kathy, daughters Sarah and Mary Kate, and the players of Munster whom he always described as part of his family unit.

May he rest in peace.

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