DROMTARIFFE GAA learned with regret on the passing of one of the finest players of his era, New York-based Pat Joe Neville.
A sportsman of exceptional talent, his Dromtariffe career was short because of emigration, yet Pat Joe maintained a tradition by coming from a family immersed in the affairs of a proud GAA club.
His dad Paddy figured on the 1935 Dromtariffe team to win the IFC and part of 13 Dromtarriffe players that started on the Duhallow West team who won the senior title in 1936.
Former club chairman Charlie Drake spoke of Pat Joe and his family that is synonymous with Dromtariffe GAA and his passing caused widespread sadness.
“Pat Joe was a born athlete from the day he was able to walk, we had many a long summer’s evening running cross country around the late Luke Philpot’s fields jumping ditches and drains and dodging furze bushes and he leaving us all in his wake. They were the days back in the early 50’s so it was no wonder he was some footballer as were all his brothers," said Charlie.
Pat Joe burst onto Dromtariffe Junior A team in ’59 and delivered some outstanding displays and emerged deadly accurate from frees. He also had an eye for goal as he showed when he sent an unstoppable shot all the way to the net against Kilshannig in a county semi-final with 2-1 added in the final against Dohenys.
Pat Joe intended to depart for America after the Kilshannig game but through the intervention of team captain Tom Meaney and club officers, a successful visit to his home pleaded with him to stay with the team until after the final.
“Pat Joe was recognized throughout Dromtarriffe and Duhallow as a first-class footballer and only for emigrating, he would have gone on to play for the County Senior team. He possessed a special football intelligence and an extraordinary eye as a forward to create and execute a goalscoring opportunity and a most amazing body swerve," said team captain Tom.
Pat Joe went on to play football with his adopted club in New York and on one such occasion he found himself against a cousin on an opposing team. So fierce was the battle between the two, Pat Joe sustained a broken nose but played on and it didn’t stop him from scoring.
The triumphant 1959 Dromtariffe panel included James Noonan, Paddy Murphy, Tom Meaney, Gerald O'Connor, Bernie Dillon, Din Joe Kelly (RIP), Bill Whelan (RIP), Tim Joe O'Connell, Mick Byrnes, Pat Joe Neville (RIP), Dan Shine (RIP), Con O'Connor, Connie Moynihan (RIP), Con Duggan (RIP), Patsy Barry, Dan Joe Buckley (RIP), Denny Duggan (RIP), Donie Murphy (RIP), Denny Noonan (RIP), Sean Murphy, Ted Murphy, Seamus Hayes (RIP), Dan Joe Cashman (RIP).
Dromtariffe regrets the passing of one of its great players with sympathy extended to Pat Joe’s family.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.