FLASHBACK The late Aidan Golden is pictured in action for Ballinrobe RFC against Westport RFC at The Racecourse in Ballinrobe. Pic: Tommy Eibrand RIP
LOCAL rivalries were put to one side and different sporting codes all pulled together last weekend as one corner of South Mayo came to a virtual standstill to pay their respects to Aidan Golden.
The 40 year-old from Ballinrobe died suddenly while on holidays in Portugal last Sunday week, and was laid to rest on Saturday afternoon last following a moving funeral mass and ceremony.
As Fr Michael Gormally, Ballinrobe PP, remarked: “Aidan was a kind, caring and loving person’ who ‘was a wonderful husband’ who ‘always brought the best out in people’.
The esteem in which Aidan was held by his family, work colleagues, wide circle of friends and people in general around the area was easy to see last weekend.
Between the stream of callers to his home, the huge crowds that queued for hours at his removal on Friday, the large number of people who expressed an interest in being part of a Guard of Honour, and the packed St Mary’s Church for his funeral, there was no missing the ‘time’ that so many people had for him.
The easiest man in the world to spend a few hours with, Aidan’s interest in sport, fondness for craic, and laid-back nature meant that people were drawn to him, and found pleasure in his company.
A gentle giant, Aidan’s interest in sport saw him win friends from his earliest school days, and that continued right through to his final hour.
Aidan’s exploits as a Gaelic footballer saw him win both Mayo Intermediate and Under-21 ‘A’ championship medals in 2000, and he picked up a second County Intermediate title two years later.
In 2004, he was part of a Ballinrobe squad that won an historic Mayo Senior League, and he did it all in his own inimitable, easy-going way.
He was a ball-winning, line-breaking, play-making, score-taking half-forward with the ability to see and deliver a pass that most of us could only dream of.
Aidan could also more than hold his own in the physical stakes, and while he wasn’t in the business of starting rows, he never took a step back either.
He was the kind of player you wanted in your team, and when there was a win to be celebrated, or a defeat to be drowned, he was in the thick of that too.
So many of us who knew Aidan can still see him in our mind’s eye, winning a ball, making space, and clipping a point in The Lough, before jogging back out the field in his own time.
Catching his breath, encouraging lads around him, and getting ready to go again.
Ballinrobe RFC also benefitted from Aidan’s skillset over the years, as he lined out at full-back, centre, and out-half, and never let the side down.
Whatever he had to give to the cause on any given Sunday, he gave it. Hitting a ruck, chasing a kick, catching a ‘garryowen’ or making a burst, he was up for it.
“Aidan was never found wanting in the black and white jersey,” was how one former team-mate described him last week.
The jerseys of Ballinrobe GAA club, Ballinrobe Rugby Club and Liverpool FC were prominently displayed at Aidan’s funeral ceremony last weekend, and were just some of the sporting symbols that reflected a life well-lived.
We extend our sympathies to Aidan’s wife, Aedemar; parents James and Marguerite; brothers Brian and Noel; and sister Mary; parents-in-law, Jackie and Maura Hyland; nephews; nieces; and all his family and friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.