NOF United By Pakie Ryan

Taken from The Clare People (By Páraic McMahon)

Newmarket-on-Fergus is one of the county’s largest parishes and few occasions can connect it as much as the annual Pakie Ryan Memorial Event.

In most towns and villages you will find each January more people take to the streets as fitness becomes one of their New Year’s resolutions. Over the past seven years, all of Newmarket-on-Fergus has gone a step forward as it is annually transformed into a mini Olympic village with runners, walkers and cyclists clocking up the miles in preparation of the Pakie Ryan Memorial Event.

While there is certainly a case of a parish uniting in honour of one of their greatest sons for Pakie Ryan, Newmarket-on-Fergus Parish Priest, Fr Tom Fitzpatrick maintains it is more than that.

“Not alone is it very much a community thing, Pakie Ryan was obviously a very central figure God rest his soul and the Ryan family are to this community but it has spread its wings way beyond the boundry of the parish to take in the whole of Clare and beyond, I’m absolutely amazed I don’t know why I should be amazed but I kind of am amazed it’s such a big event, it is huge it is just unbelievable and we’ve been of course greatly blessed by weather from day one every day that has come has been a good day weather wise and it helps aswell and I often felt that it could make a weekend out of it than one half day of it, if you could extend it out to Friday night Saturday and then into the Sunday in some shape or form what a magnificent weekend it would be”.

History will say there has been a divide between soccer and the GAA but it doesn’t seem to exist in Newmarket, especially on this day each year with the soccer club the starting point and the GAA club the finishing line for each event.

“Pakie and all of the Ryan family have always been very involved with our club so it was important for us to honour his memory in the right way”, commented Newmarket Celtic PRO Ryan Corry.

“It is fitting that our one of our main roles is using our home as the finish line because on so many occasions Pakie did everything in his power to get us over the line many times”, stated Seanie McMahon, Vice Chairperson of CLG Cora Chaitlín.

As a society we have different ways of paying our respects, each year the memory of Pakie Ryan is honoured with an event that does justice to the legacy he has left behind.

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