"He'd have been a proud man" - Pat Spillane breaks down in tears on final Sunday Game appearance
"It's a lovely way to finish."
Pat Spillane spoke of his late father and his family's achievements for Kerry GAA after a gripping All-Ireland final.
Sunday was All-Ireland Final day but Kerry legend Pat Spillane had another request for host Joanne Cantwell and fellow pundits Ciaran Whelan and Sean Cavanagh, on his final appearance on The Sunday Game.
"Maybe today," he remarked, "it might be, 'Let's be nice to Pat Spillane Day'. It could be like that Ronan Keating song - You Say It Best When You Say Nothing at All."
"I think we're set up for a great day," Cavanagh responded, "and then you have Pat's retirement, which is even better!"
RTÉ played out a Spillane tribute, before the game, to the tune of Edith Piaf's 'Non, je ne regrette rien' [No regrets] before Whelan presented him with an autographed Dublin five-in-a-row jersey.
Before throw-in, Cantwell was able to prise from Spillane a nugget on his favourite player from his punditry years.
"I've been privileged for the last 30 years to write about GAA, and talk about it on RTÉ," he commented. "They said don't select a Kerry player. So, I think Peter Canavan would be the man I'd pick, over the last 30 years. He was a superstar."
Pat Spillane has been a leading and legendary voice in #RTEGAA broadcasting and analysis.
On his final #SundayGame, we look back at the last three decades and present him with a special momento. #sundaygame pic.twitter.com/YaqpquvwDd
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 24, 2022
Pat Spillane's lovely tribute to late father
It was all going so well, pre-match, until Sean Cavanagh claimed that Shane Walsh had more all-round skill than David Clifford. "Hold on, what are you talking about?!"
As Cavanagh tried to list the myriad of skills possessed by Walsh, Pat Spillane was just uttering the odd, incredulous word.
If that ruffled Spillane's feathers, the Cavanagh claim that Galway 'might do it' brought an audible snort from the Kerry legend.
When it was all said and done, Walsh had played superbly but so had Clifford. Kerry were champions for a 38th time. "It's brilliant to see David Clifford deliver, and getting that All-Ireland medal," said Spillane.
Spillane then spoke about his father, a Kerry selector at the time, that passed away in the 1960s, and never got to see him and his brothers win All-Ireland medals.
His sons did go on to win 19 SFC medals, and his grand-sons, Adrian and Killian, were All-Ireland winners today. Holding back tears, for as long as he could, Spillane declared:
"My father never saw us play, the three sons. They have 19 All-Ireland medals and his two grand-sons today, Killian and Adrian, have two more.
"He'd have been a proud man to see his family get 21 All-Ireland senior medals. He'd have been a proud man."
Pat Spillane is in tears as, on the day he retires from The Sunday Game, his nephews Killian and Adrian follow on his foot-steps as All-Ireland champions for Kerry.
With 0-2 down the stretch, Killian was the match-winner on the daypic.twitter.com/apV4qcL3QX
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 24, 2022
As the TV cameras returned to the studio, Pat Spillane wiped away the tears, Ciarán Whelan placed a supporting hand on his shoulder and even Sean Cavanagh played nice.
"It's in our blood," said Spillane as he regained his composure. "It is our religion."
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