Listowel people have a tendency to give people colourful nicknames. I have always wondered where Schillaci got his from. The mystery was solved last weekend when this great friend and adopted son of the Keane family was laid to rest.
Billy Keane has written a lovely piece about him in today's Irish Independent but it does not seem to be published in the online version of the paper. So I'm sharing with you the Kerryman obituary.
Wednesday October 19 2011
LISTOWEL buried a cherished character this week with the passing of Patrick O'Donoghue, affectionately known as 'Schillaci'.
A massive crowd turned out for his Funeral Mass in St Mary's on Sunday with friend Micky McConnell singing him out with The Parting Glass in a particularly poignant moment.
The 55-year-old Cobh native was found dead in his flat on William Street on Thursday. A regular of John B's bar, Mr O'Donoghue was indeed named as 'resident character' by the late writer many years ago.
"He was a lovely, gentle soul and had the freedom of 30 houses around town," Billy Keane — who gave Sunday's oration — told The Kerryman.
"Pat came to town in his younger years and married the love of his life, Mary Daly. The couple had two children, Billy and John, and two grandchildren and he was a hero to them. Pat had a hard upbrining in residential care in Cork and I think the time he spent with his own children and grandchildren was his way of reclaiming his lost childhood."
Very generous to his many friends, Mr O'Donoghue carried out work all over Listowel. "He was happy with lunch or the loan of a good book in recompense and was a voracious reader. He'd read three books a week and loved reading to his grandchildren."
Mr O'Donoghue had lunch with Mary Keane every Sunday and had a second home in the bar. Indeed, he earned his moniker there in the aftermath of the infamous goal. "He was so shocked he fell off his stool when Schillaci scored and my brother John called him after the Italian player from then on. It was a name that suited him perfectly."
- DÓNAL NOLAN