Eamonn de Paor

The Words of Ned Power Word Format (1.16MB) PDF Format (883KB)

Micheal O'Muircheartaighs Tribute to Ned Power

Eddie Kehers Tribute to Ned Power

Letter from Tyrone

Memories (written by Eamonn de Paor in 1994)

Newspaper Pictures

Ned Power - An Appreciation

The Following tribute to Ned Power was published in our club notes in the week following his death (15th November 2007):

Srac-fhéachaint Siar

He bore his suffering with great dignity to the end fortified by his faith and at all times giving thanks to God for his cherished family, his wonderful life and the many gifts that had been bestowed on him. His finally passing was not unexpected but the sense of loss is no less.

In 1950 Eamonn De Paor took up a teaching post in the local national school. Scoil Mhuire. As an educator he would touch the lives of generations of Tallow people for nearly four decades. All of us in some way have benefited under the tuition of Mr. Power. His appointment would also prove to be a seminal one where the history of Tallow GAA was concerned. There would come a new dawning. A golden era lay ahead.

Ned Power enjoyed a long and illustrious career at club and county level. His achievements in the blue and white of Waterford are well documented. Better remembered for his hurling prowess he was equally proficient with the big ball. He was an outstanding dual player and played minor hurling and football for the county in the late ‘40s. Ned would in fact play senior inter county football before making his senior hurling debut in the early 50s. His brilliance as a hurling coach tends to overshadow his achievements as a football coach. It is just another facet of the genius of Eamonn de Paor which is sometimes overlooked.  They would tell you a thing or two about it in Kilrossanty where he helped them to successive county titles (5 in total I think). It is no coincidence that when Tallow were hauling home Western and County titles for fun from the mid sixties to the mid eighties, more than half would have been in football. Such was the versatility and range of abilities of the man that he once referred a senior football county final.

As Waterford’s last line of defence Ned won Munster medals in ’57, ’59 and ’63. He also won a National Hurling League medal in 1963. The crowning glory is of course the’59 All Ireland medal. An Paorach would retire from inter county hurling shortly after winning a Railway Cup medal with Munster in 1966.

Pictured above: Tom Cheasty and Ned Power in New York (June 1960).

Throughout his prime playing years Ned Power played his club hurling and football with his native Dungarvan.. He had a short spell with Affane before donning the blue and gold of Tallow. It was a time not entirely without rancour.. There was a lot of controversy, of which I am not well enough informed to comment in on. There has been talk of pressure brought to bear bordering on intimidation but this is not a fairy tale.

Times were different back then. There was a healthy respect for people in positions of authority. Only in recent years could I bring myself to ad dress him as Ned. It never sat comfortably and I often reverted to Mr. Power. It must have been strange for a lot of the lads lining out along side an Mháistir de Paor who no doubt at some stage over the near past had cause to admonish some for incomplete home work or other transgressions of school order.  From Headmaster to coach and now team mate. Almost everyone in Tallow has their own story about Ned Power. I can’t recount them all. Pat Murphy has one worth telling: “I owe him everything. He made bad hurlers average, average hurlers good and good hurlers great. I would never have played for Waterford but for Ned Power” A former pupil who wants to remain unnamed (he lived adjacent to the school in Chapel St.) has another: “I got disciplined once for breaking a school window after hours. I was totally innocent. ‘Twas a different window I broke.”

Ned hurled with Tallow outfield and in goals. Wherever he could give service he was willing and able. He was centre forward against Butlerstown in the 1971 Intermediate Final which we lost but he won an Intermediate medal when Tallow triumphed in’74. Bhí sé sa bhearna baol arís ag chosaint I gcoinne an namhaid.

In 1976 Tallow were back, where he always wanted them, in a senior county final against Portlaw.  Ned was between the sticks facing his old friend and comrade from ’59 Tom Cheasty who captained the victorious Portlaw team. They are together again.

Was there no end to the man? At the age of 51 the indomitable Power won a junior hurling county medal when Tallow defeated Tramore after a replay in 1981. A disciplined life style and exemplary dedication enabled Ned to hurl on with Tallow into his mid 50’s. As he said himself in his own inimitable style: “I never retired you k now .They just didn’t pick me anymore.”

Before we border on canonisation, Ned was not perfect. You met more than your match if you crossed swords on or off the field. Whether it be in physical or verbal jousting you could get stung. He had a sharp intellect and a turn of phrase that put many in their place.  Listen, this man survived in “Hells Kitchen”. He pulled no punches. He bore no grudges.

“Is namhaid í an cheird gan í a fhoghlaim”

Remarkable as his playing career was, his work as a coach at club and county level as well as his contribution to coaching nationally are to my mind Ned Powers greatest legacy to Cumann Luthchleas Gael. A hurling purist with an innate love and understanding of the skills of the game, Eamonn de Paor found fertlile ground in Tallow, where a strong hurling tradition was already rooted, to impart knowledge and sow the seeds of success. He embraced his mission with evangelical zeal. In coaching terms he was ahead of his time. He was a pioneer of the Gormanstown coaching initiative and had a major input into the national coaching manuals brought forward by Ceann Árus.  G.A.A. history may yet acknowledge the genius of Ned Power.

“An té nach gCuireann san Earrach ní bhfainfidh sé san Fhómhair”

Signs of the renaissance, that would flourish for twenty years, first became evident in 1962 when  the Tallow School football team won the Avonmore League ( a competition confined to the far west of the county). In 1964 the school  hurling team was on board and Ned registered his first double. There would be more.

Throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, Tallow under age hurling and football teams, whose skills were honed at the “Ned Power School of Excellence” blazed a trail of glory throughout the county and brought an avalanche of Western and County titles to the Brideside town. Meticulous, consistent, corrective coaching day on day in the field in Tallow, paid dividends. Stylish hurling became a Tallow trade mark.

A significant breakthrough came in 1966 when the clubs under 16 footballers won a county title against Mount Sion (played in Carrick-on- Suir as both Ned and Seamus Power were playing a National League game against Tipperary after). From ’66 to ’81, Tallow won every  Count title, from under 14 to senior, in hurling and football, with the exception of senior football and we gave that a rattle too. There is no doubt Ned had quality material to work with but without him they would never have fulfilled their potential. He honed skills and was tuned in to every psychological edge. The conveyor belt was in full production in this most prolific period in the history of Tallow GAA.

An Fhómhair:

It was a natural progression that greater glory lay ahead for Tallow. The work put in at under age level brought a rich harvest, culminating in three senior hurling titles in 1980, ’84 and ’85. In 1985 Tallow  lost by a single point (Tallow 1-17 Kilruane McDonaghs 1-18) to the eventual All- Ireland champions. It was to be the zenith of the Power hurling orbit.

An Paorach, an Teanga agus an Tírghrá

Our native language, gaelic culture, in particular  the game of hurling, are among he bulwarks that prevent us from becoming subsumed into a bland English speaking commercial world. The native Irish language and the game of hurling set us apart. Ned Power loved both. It was not a selfish love. He sought to share both wherever he found a willing ear. Bhí an teanga dúchais go líofa aige agus dhein sé gach iarracht é a fhorbairt.  An dílseacht a bhí aige don teanga agus an iomáint – Cá bhfaimid a leithéid arís? Is oth liom a rá nach bhfuil said ann a thuilleadh. Bfhéidir nach mbeidh said go deo arís.  
Ned was finishing his supper when I called in one evening over 12 months ago. Gretta welcomed me and I had a cup of tea while Ned polished off the boiled egg. He was in good form and instead of the normal chat about hurling or the state of the nation, he talked about business. He was an idealist but he was a practical man too and always supportive and encouraging of local endeavour and work ethic. A knock on the door signalled the end of our discussion. There was Irish to be taught, exams to be passed. - always the educator. 

The ritual hoisting of the tricolour opened each school day. A  monument commemorating the Leaders of ’16 had pride of place in the old school yard. Every pupil coming under Ned’s tuition learned  the National Anthem. He was a patriotic man with a deep appreciation of gaelic culture and history. He was distressed at the plight of his fellow Irishmen as turmoil raged in the 6 counties. He marvelled at the steadfastness of those who promoted gaelic games and culture in a hostile intimidating environment and lent his support in whatever way he could, visiting Dungiven in South Derry and elsewhere to coach hurling. The pride Eamonn de Paor had in his Irishness is a subject not often touched on. I would be doing a disservice to the memory of this man not to mention it.  

An Scriobhaí

This man of many talents could have made a living as a journalist had he chosen that path. As the French would say he had “une belle plume” and his weekly articles on the local papers brought him a complete new constituency of devotees. He could be controversial and like some more of us ended up in water occasional for his forthright views. His writing on a range of subjects from coaching to referees are worth preserving. There was a great book in the man. Thanks to his wife Gretta we have been able to save some of his informative essays and they have been committed to disc which will be available on our club website whenever we get it finished. On a personal note, he always encouraged me. He rang me on the occasion of Ray O Briens 25th Anniversary last year to thank me for a piece we had on the club notes. He was very emotional when he spoke about “Pigeon”. 

I have often mentioned on these notes the support and coaching Ned gave to the Naomh Columcille hurlers in East Tyrone. Declining health often prevented him from travelling north but on more than one occasion I was like an emissary despatched with a letter. It was a bit like an “Soiscéal de réir Ned” as I read the gospel to his enthralled Tyrone disciples who hung on efery word. Over the years he would have exchanged letters with Damian O Neill. His support meant a lot to these lads. They haven’t forgotten and a delegation from the club travelled last week end to say a final farewell.

An Oidreacht a d’fhág sé linn

There is a void in the soul of Tallow hurling but he has left us a wonderful legacy. 
He coached as long as his body allowed him. He was still to be seen down at the field, honing skills, up until a few years ago .Just four years back he took Thomas Ryan under his wing and when the two of them were finished Thomas was All Ireland Féile skills champion. Give him the material and he would mould a champion. It was his last great triumph in the hurling arena.

His loss was felt ever before his sad passing. We probably depended on him too much and have struggled to come the grips with coaching within the club when Ned was unable to contribute as much as he had. We could never replace him,. we know that, but there is a duty on all of us to nurture the legacy he left us and pass what we can to the generations that will follow.

Eamonn de Paor was among a group of men who had the foresight to purchase a 10 acre field at the Townspark East side of the town in 1963. It is only fitting now that the newly developed club grounds are dedicated in his honour. Páirc Eamonn de Paor will forever honour his memory and as long as the snap of ash on leather resounds across the valley of the Bride along the townland of Loch na Solus, an Paorach will be happy in heaven.

Go raibh maith agat Ned. 

Liam Mulcahy

Ned with Father Tommy Maher and Des Ferguson at Gormanstown.

Photo taken in the 1960's at the Boathouse, Cappoquin. Jim O'Gorman on the right with Ned.

Picture above: Ned in Times Square, New York, June 1960.

Ned with Mrs Ahern & Billy Sheehan.

Ned Power with Tony Mansfield