A Tribute to Pat Dillon

By James Healy. Unfortunately, March 31st 2015 marked the passing of Pat Dillon (Woodlawn); he was laid to rest in Kilmurry cemetery in Castletroy, Limerick on Thursday 2nd April.
I grew up 3 fields away from Pat Dillon, albeit in a different parish with our path’s first crossing when we entered St Cuan’s College, Castleblakeney, in September 1974. We shared many experiences together over the next five years, both in the classroom and on the field of play. Pat’s perfectly formed print writing and his mastery of Maths and Irish came in handy on many a day where “homework” was delayed until the following morning.
Pat was the best footballer in my time in St Cuan’s and our success in Juvenile in 1976 and Junior in 1978, was largely down to his leadership and unerring free taking. Seeing that Pat was such a natural footballer, we persuaded him to take hurling seriously and we also had some success in St Cuan’s at Juvenile, Junior and Senior level.
This led him to teaming up with us in Pearse’s where we had a few great years. It culminated in winning the Minor hurling championship versus Gort in 1977 where Pat was a rampaging wing forward and still eligible to play U16.
 Pat went to college in UCG and graduated with a Degree in Industrial Engineering in 1983. He was a leading member of the St Gabriel’s team that won the Intermediate Football Championship in 1979 and later represented Galway in the 1981 U21 Football Championship which ended in a replay loss to Cork, winning a Connacht medal in the process. He later went on to play Senior Football with St Michael’s in Galway City.
As well as going through many experiences on the field, we also went through our first paid job together, painting in St Cuan’s for 50p an hour before he graduated to pulling out timber, from the woods, with a horse assisted by his brothers. I’m not sure, but that hardly spawned his big interest in Horse Racing. All of these tasks were undertaken with the same planning and diligence that he applied to study and indeed to sport.
When Pat and family moved to Limerick in the 1999 to set up a new business OMC Scientific, we reconnected. During the set-up phase of OMC we had many a discussion and I always came away feeling better about life. Pat was a proud Galway man and we enjoyed a lovely celebration together with his brother Liam in Limerick after the long drive home from the 2001 Football All Ireland. In May 2013 we went to see Galway beat Cork in the U21 All Ireland Final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
I think the best tribute I can give to Pat is to reiterate the words of Aidan Bellew (Chicago) on hearing of Pat’s passing, he text me “Pat Dillon was a good man”. Sadly this is the fourth member of our Minor panel from 1977 who has passed away. We also remember Mike Ryan, Tommy Carrig and JJ Queeney at this time.
I know there will be tough times ahead for Dymphna, James and Lucy as well as Christy, Liam, Tom, Ciaran and Helen. No words can act as a consolation at this time for the loss of a generous and committed family man. However the courage and dignity that Pat displayed in coping with a severe illness over the past nine months should provide some inspiration. I will always remember Pat as a good friend and teammate but above all as a really intelligent, honest, hardworking and decent man. May he rest in peace.