GAA world in mourning following death of Paudie Palmer

Popular C103 commentator and Echo columnist had been involved in car accident on December 29
GAA world in mourning following death of Paudie Palmer

The late Paudie Palmer. Picture: Dan Linehan

The death of popular GAA commentator and Echo columnist Paudie Palmer has been announced.

Palmer had been involved in a road traffic accident close to his home in Innishannon on December 29 and passed away early on Sunday morning as a result of related injuries.

A native of Templenoe in Kerry, Palmer worked as a teacher and spent most of his professional life in St Brogan’s College in Bandon.

His natural charm and excellent oratorical skills led to him commentating on schools games that were being videoed. When what was then known as 103FM (now C103) began to cover matches, he was given his chance on radio and was on the microphone for the station’s first outing, a county SHC game between Carbery and his adopted club Valley Rovers in Ballinspittle in May 1991.

Over the next three decades, his voice would become synonymous with Gaelic games action in Cork. His ability to coin phrases and marvellous sense of description lent a colour to his commentary – “He’s racing to keep the ball in, but the line will get there first” and “There’s a man on the ground and we think there was a bit of a capsizing operation going on” were just two of his many lines, while the relegation play-offs in Cork became almost universally known as the “Slán Leat Tournament” after he originated the title. His high profile in GAA circles led to him being in high demand as an MC for events around the county and he could always be relied upon to bring the same level of performance as he did in the commentary booth.

During his time commentating, he was fortunate enough to call a number of county title wins for Valleys, a club in which he became heavily involved. And, while he remained a devout Templenoe supporter, taking huge enjoyment from the club’s recent junior and intermediate wins, at county level he crossed the border spiritually as well as physically.

Writing in his Echo column prior to the 2009 All-Ireland football final between the counties, he admitted that he was hoping it would be the Rebels rather than Kingdom ascending the steps of the Hogan Stand.

“Why, some would ask, would any Kerryman worth his salt want the captain of their greatest rivals to be in a happy state on All-Ireland final Sunday in the aftermath of an all-Munster decider?

“It has to do with the selfish factor or maybe there is such a condition as a lapsed Kerryman. Yours truly has been involved in broadcasting matches on C103 with 19 years but as yet the privilege of commentating in an All-Ireland with the Rebel county victorious has been denied.” Kerry won that final but a year later Cork came back to triumph with Paudie given the privilege of narrating the events in his unique style. His is a loss that will be keenly felt by many, but the memories of such entertaining commentaries will live on.

He is survived by his wife Colette, daughters Claire and Emily, grandson Lucas, brothers Denis,

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