(Taken from Summerhill G.F.C. Souvenir Record 1977)
In every club in the Gaelic Athletic Association there is a person or persons whose name(s) are synonomous with that club. This close indentification of certain people with certain clubs stems from a lifetime of service and dedication to the G.A.A. by these people. They have often been described as "pillars of the Association". The Summerhill club is no exception with a number of individuals who have given sterling service to the Association in the Parish. However, of all these people, the name most closely linked with the club is that of Paddy Daly.
Paddy's is a story of years of service in every facet of the running of the club. It's a story that has seen good times and bad, a story that has its ups and its downs. It is a story that spans many years, and that carries many and varied tales.
Paddy's first official position in the club was that of Treasurer. He took over this position from John Ashe in 1944. "It was easy keeping the books then" he recalls. "You could keep the full years accounts on the back of a cigarette box". Paddy's first memory of the club is not being able to field a Junior team in 1944. "We were left with a minor team to carry the club's colours that year".
Paddy played minor football with Summerhill in 1945 (he is not exactly a veteran yet) and reached the semi-final of the championship. "The only thing I can ever remember running around that time was a 7-a-side tournament in Enfield in 1949". When Summerhill won the Junior championship in Enfield in 1953 Paddy was playing left corner forward. He played most of his football in the forwards but had some outings as a wing half-back. He continued playing football until the mid-sixties.
As already mentioned Paddy became Treasurer in 1944. He held this position until January 2nd, 1973 when he did not let his name go forward for the position. This was a span of 28 years. Apart from being Treasurer, Paddy also was Secretary for a number of years over the last 3 decades.
I asked Paddy what were the biggest changes he had seen over the years.
"One of the biggest changes is the numbers we now have playing the games. In the early days we would be lucky to scrape a Junior team. Today we run 3 adult teams and there are still some players who don't get enough football. There has also been tremendous changes in dedication and approach to training.
"Years ago there was no such thing as training - a couple of fellows would tog out and play football and that was it. The dedication of our players over the last 5 years has been a revelation".
I put it to Paddy that after 30 years service he must have some special memories.
"Yes! I have many fond memories. Most of them have been crammed into the last five years but I suppose the pinnacle of the whole thing was 1974 when Colm Cromwell presented the Keegan Cup to Austin Lyons. This was the day I had always waited for although I must confess there were times when it seemed a remote possibility. If I have a regret it is that my old friend and great club official, the late Ollie Fagan, was not around for all of the last five years to share in the successes.
"Paddy, what is the difference between the demands made on a club official years ago and now?"
"Years ago the county was split up into areas with Divisional Boards. There was no great push whether you went to these Divisional meetings or not. Normally a representative only went if you were in a final or in trouble or something like that. Nowadays it is a must to be a regular attender at all Board meetings because people in the club want to know what's going on. They want their representative to have a say in the decisions made and are prepared to let you know if they are not happy with these decisions. Also you have bigger A.G.M's now. Years ago you would be lucky to have 20 at an A.G.M. Now you have 70 or 80. There were no real demands as such years ago".
"Have you any special memories of County Board meetings or characters met at these meetings?"
"I have had great satisfaction getting to know different people down the years and meeting other club delegates with problems. There have been many characters at County Board meetings - indeed there still are. Different people could be classified as characters for different reasons but in the main nearly all County Board delegates are decent fellows, trying to get the best deal for their club."
"What do you see as priorities for a good club official?"
"Well an official must be dedicated and must be willing to apply himself to the job in hand. He must be prepared to make many sacrifices."
"Finally, Paddy, today we open the new Pavilion and Pitch. What does this mean to you?"
"An awful lot. Most of the time I togged out to practice it was in Shaws cowshed or at the back of some ditch. We did not know what facilities meant those times. But Summerhill players have put a lot into their training and they deserve the best facilities. I must say I am very proud to see these premises being opened today."
And indeed Paddy Daly can be justifiably proud. He has served this club well. Not alone has he served his club well but he has served his county well both as a minor selector for 3 years and as a member of the Disciplinary Committee. His life was built around the G.A.A. and the Summerhill club is thankful to Paddy for his many years of service.
Paddy Daly receiving his Meath "Hall of Fame Award".