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Pat Spillane Reveals His Mother Had Unusual Approach To GAA Exploits Of Her Sons

Pat Spillane Reveals His Mother Had Unusual Approach To GAA Exploits Of Her Sons
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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The Spillane family is without doubt one of the most storied we have seen in GAA history.

The trio of Pat, Mick, and Tom won an incredible 19 All-Ireland medals between them in the 1970s and 1980s, a period when Kerry dominated the domestic scene. Of course, the next generation of Killian and Adrian would also win their first Celtic crosses in July after the victory over Galway at Croke Park.

That game would also mark the final occasion that Pat Spillane would be a part of The Sunday Game, becoming hugely emotional as he described how the occasion reminded of his father Tom who passed away during his childhood.


He was only eight-years old when his father died, leaving his mother Maura to raise their four children by herself.

Pat Spillane recalls his mother's approach to GAA

Despite her children's exploits with Kerry when they became adults, Maura Spillane didn't show that much interest in the sport.

Speaking on last night's The Late Late Show, Pat Spillane revealed how his mother never watched any of their games and had her own way of keeping them grounded during that period.

I was eight-years old when my father died. She ran a bar, petrol pumps, a shop. She raised four kids without a widow's pension, couldn't drive so sold the car, and parked her life to raise the four kids.

She cooked the dinner at the kitchen table with the door to the bar open, she never took a day off.

She never saw us playing in her life, never saw us playing.

There was two things about my mother. She was a real Irish mother, so she didn't really do affection, but she really sacrificed her life for us.

She was a great woman, a woman of faith. I mean, we used to get drowned with holy water heading to an All-Ireland final!

We never spoke football. There was three of us playing with Kerry and winning All-Irelands, but we never discussed football.

The only thing she used to say to us was when we reached the door, she would put holy water on our foreheads and our bags, all she would say was 'remember who ye are and stay grounded'.

I remember one year I came back after an All-Ireland final in 1984. I should have come back on the Monday, but we went on the beer and I didn't come back until Wednesday night.

I had just won my fifth All-Ireland medal and been named man-of-the-match. I arrived back into the kitchen at 8:30pm, and my mother said 'get down inside that bar and start working'. That was it, there was no mention of well done or congratulations!

Spillane will no longer be a staple of RTÉ's GAA coverage moving forward, although he did admit that he will not be out of the public eye entirely.


He has a book coming out next year and it would be a surprise if he were not to still pop up in the media now and then.

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