There was deep shock and sadness in the parishes of Ardfinnan, Grange and Ballybacon, and indeed throughout the county, when the news of the death of Patsy Savage on Tuesday, October 1 came through.
Patsy was an outstanding family man who together with his wife Marie had three sons - Kieran, Keith and Aidan - and daughter Christine.
He was also a very popular man within the community and hugely respected by everyone fortunate enough to have known him.
The name Savage has been associated with Ardfinnan football throughout the club’s history. A love of football and playing for Ardfinnan was fostered in the family home of Joce and Patrick “Major” Savage, which would lead Patsy, together with his brother Pete, to try and emulate the Ardfinnan team of the 30s, achievements which included Pat “Major” Savage.
When Ardfinnan defeated Clonmel Commercials in the South Senior Football final of 1961 Patsy played a starring role from his favourite position of corner forward. This game was the prelude to many championship and league clashes between both clubs for the next 12 years, which would fill Clonmel Sportsfield with huge attendances, attracting patrons from within and outside the county, with Patsy Savage a central figure in all the games.
Patsy played a prominent role in the club’s South and County three in-a-row title winning teams of 1962, 63 and 64. He was also an ever-present on their 1968 and 1973 South Championship-winning teams and won his final medals as corner forward in the 1974 South and County Senior Football-winning teams.
Patsy won seven South Senior Football medals and played in 11 county finals for Ardfinnan, winning five. He was regarded as a fearless scoring forward, a great fielder of the high ball with a tremendous will-to-win, and it is fair to say that he enjoyed every minute in which he wore with pride the maroon jersey of Ardfinnan. He also played hurling with Ballybacon-Grange.
When Patsy’s playing career ended in 1980 he continued to support the club and was a regular at all games they played and all events organised by the club. His son Aidan is a member of the current Ardfinnan Senior Football team.
Patsy also enjoyed a night out at the dogs or at a race meeting and was a regular at the annual Coursing meeting in Clonmel. This meeting attracts patrons from all over the country and Patsy would engage with the many followers willing to listen to his highly respected knowledge of the sport and who above all enjoyed his company and his cheerful personality.
Patsy Savage will always be remembered for his outstanding contribution to Ardfinnan football during Ardfinnan’s golden era. Those fortunate enough to see him playing for the club will cherish with pride those great memories. The guard of honour afforded to him by both clubs at his funeral, which included former teammates, was a fitting and deserved tribute to his memory.
Deepest sympathy is extended to his wife Marie, sons Kieran, Keith and Aidan and daughter Christine, brother Pete, sisters Mary, Kay and Joan, son-in-law Paul, daughters-in-law Fiona and Niamh, brother-in-law Eamon, sister-in-law Kitty, grandchildren, extended family and friends.
May he rest in peace.