Sorcha Glackin's Passing It On is much more than your run-of-the-mill sports documentary. As the terrific Patrick Freyne put it in his review for The Irish Times: "This is really about how young people need a place to belong and someone to champion them."
Those young people were the Ballymun kids of the late 1990s and that champion was Paddy Christie.
Having aired previously on EirSport, Passing It On captured audiences once again thanks to its RTÉ airing on Thursday night. It tells the tale of Ballymun Kickhams GAA club and some of the wonderful people who have played their part in its growth across the decades. People like Val Andrews, Tom O'Donoghue and, of course, Mr Christie.
It was part documentary, part Irish version of The Mighty Ducks. With the club struggling in the 90s, their All-Star full-back decided to help out with the u10s team. They then became the u11s team, the u12s team and on it went, with Paddy at the helm the whole way through.
He was the young lads' Gordon Bombay. Sure, he was as good as anyone at helping them work on their passing, their shooting and all that malarkey, but his real achievement was helping them blossom as young men. Whether they were from Ballymun or down the road in Glasnevin, Paddy helped them create a bond that has lasted over 20s years. They were called scumbags by adults, they were written off as no-hopers but with Paddy's guidance they rose above it and great days came.
It brought them huge success on the field and for many it changed their life off it as well.
The @BallymunGAA documentary that I produced and directed is broadcasting tonight, at 10:10pm, on RTÉ 1. Special thanks to @JamieFitz77 , who did a fantastic job editing. Thanks to @RocheyDub and all at the club. @Alexsapienza and Paddy Jordan on camera. pic.twitter.com/or44BsDV3k
— sorcha glackin (@sorchaglackin) August 13, 2020
Unsurprisingly, Paddy's name was on the lips of many intrigued GAA fans from all around Ireland following the film's airing:
I nearly felt I wanted to be from Ballymun at the end of the programme .Well done to Paddy Christie and all in Ballymun such a positive influence on the lives of young people #Passingiton
— Conor Counihan (@conorcounihan_) August 13, 2020
— Conor.mortimer (😷)⚽️ (@Conmort) August 14, 2020
Loved the Ballymun Kickhams Doc on RTÉ 1 so much..I watched it again on +1 😂 !! Great people, great Club & what a Man Paddy Christie is. Looking forward to Commentating on their game v @tomasdaibhis with @duckie15 2moro on RTÉ 2 @ 5.30.@RTEgaa @TheSundayGame @RTE2 @BallymunGAA
— Marty Morrissey (@MartyM_RTE) August 14, 2020
What Paddy Christie has done for the youth of Ballymun is unbelievable, having met him a few times through him involvement with DCU I'm not surprised, Dermot Deasy before him also deserves massive credit. @BallymunGaa #BallymunKickhams
— brendan healy (@4aldo4) August 14, 2020
Paddy Christie is some man. I've read about him before but this documentary on RTE 1 sums him up. The time and dedication he put into young lads from disadvantaged backgrounds is unbelievable! All paying off now and changing the stigma attached to Ballymun #BallymunKickhams
— Mark Durkan (@Durk4n) August 13, 2020
@RTEsport What an incredible positive story unfolding on RTE 1 TV telling the story of Ballymun Kickhams GAA Club. "We are like a village sitting amongst this urban sprawl"
People like Paddy Christie who invest so much in their communities is the real strength of the GAA. Mighty
— Pà O'Toole🇪🇺☘🇮🇪 (@PaOToole) August 13, 2020
I had the privilege of teaching #PaddyChristie when he studied for his degree (Applied Physics), then witnessed him being a great teacher & principal, but, most of all, being a transformer of his community.
What a gentleman!
(He also managed @dcu to a 2020 Sigerson Cup win!) pic.twitter.com/8S4dz7ZGiB
— Brian MacCraith (@muirtheimhne) August 13, 2020
I’ve nothing but admiration for Paddy Christie after watching this. More than just a game ❤️💚 incredible human being https://t.co/gGmhBdI5rE
— Graham Merrigan (@GrahamMerrigan) August 14, 2020
Not often a #Cork lad would bend the knee to a Dub of any shape, but #PaddyChristie your a gem, and even though the rest of the country might want the Dubs to lose every game #ballymunkickams are a shining example of what club and community in #gaa and soccer and rugby is about
— Urlofcork (@urlofcork) August 13, 2020
The primary school principal coached DCU to a Sigerson Cup title earlier this year with one of this earliest protégés, Davey Byrne, by his side on the line.