'Bride and joy' for football legend who weds at 86

Activist and head of the Over-60s Talent Competition, Paddy O’Brien said that Mick is giving hope to other widowers disillusioned about finding love again.
'Bride and joy' for football legend who weds at 86

Legendary Kerry Footbal Manager Micko O'Dwyer pictured at his wedding to Geraldine McGirr from Tyrone in the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney on Friday.

A CORK advocate for the elderly extended his congratulations to former Kerry football manager Micko O’Dwyer who has tied the knot at the age of 86.

Activist and head of the Over-60s Talent Competition, Paddy O’Brien said that Mick is giving hope to other widowers disillusioned about finding love again.

Mr O’Dwyer wed his partner Geraldine Shields-a grandmother from Tyrone 11 years after losing his first wife Carmel who he shared four sons with. Sadly, one of those sons-Haulie-died last October.

The sporting legend- who tied the knot at the Civil Registry Officer in Killarney last Friday- shot to national fame during his career as one of the most successful gaelic football managers of all time.

He is best known for winning eight All-Ireland titles with Kerry and four Celtic crosses as a player.

Paddy O’Brien, who knows the sports star, described him as a “gentleman through and through” and said he is thrilled for the happy couple.

Buzz Aldrin 

Paddy described how heartening it to see more older people walking down the aisle, also referencing the recent happy nuptials of Buzz Aldrin and his new wife Dr Anca Faur.

The retired astronaut, who was the second man to ever walk on the moon, tied the knot with the 63-year-old in a small ceremony in Los Angeles to mark his 93rd birthday.

He wrote on Twitter: "On my 93rd birthday and the day I will also be honoured by Living Legends of Aviation, I am pleased to announce that my long-time love Dr Anca Faur and I have tied the knot.

"We were joined in holy matrimony in a small private ceremony in Los Angeles and are as excited as eloping teenagers."

However Mr O'Brien also highlighted that these couples are blessed to have the support of friends and family. Not all seniors are so lucky.

The Cork man recalled how he supported one elderly who were forced to marry in secret due to objections from some family members.

Late love a secret

“I had a widower that competed in the Over-60s contest who asked me to be his best man when he married his fiancée in secret,” he revealed. “He was 78 and she was 72. My sister Sheila Collins, who was an adjudicator for the contest at the time was bridesmaid. The wedding was at 9pm at night.” 

He described why the event was bitter-sweet.

“Even though I was thrilled to be asked along as best man, it was also a very sad occasion. 

"Neither family wanted this to happen. This can often be the case for a number of reasons. This was a couple who had great respect for one another. I can recall watching them on the altar, thinking that this should have been the best night of their lives. 

"It should have been a day filled with people and lots of dancing. I think the bride, in particular, was hurt and embarrassed that it had to happen this way.” 

Paddy will never forget that night.

“After the wedding we went to [a Cork] hotel before all going our separate ways as if nothing had ever happened. Three weeks before the wedding I swore to that couple that I would never reveal their names. I have kept that promise and will continue to do so.” 

The Cork man said he had never come across such a happy couple.

“He was a gentleman-as well as a lovely singer-who was always telling me what a beautiful wife he had. I’ll never forget him saying after they’d met “Paddy I’m happy and I am living again.”

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