Mayo Football Podcast column: Remembering Ger Brady

In our weekly bonus column for our Patreon club members yesterday, Mike provided some reflections on Ger Brady, the Claremorris and Mayo footballer who died this week and who is being laid to rest today. To mark Ger’s passing, we’re making Mike’s column available to all.

THE sense of sadness and loss around Claremorris this weekend is unmistakeable.

Grief has wrapped itself around the South Mayo town like an invisible cloak since the news started to circulate last Thursday afternoon that Ger Brady had passed away.

His 19-month battle with Motor Neurone Disease ending peacefully in the Mayo Hospice.

A husband, a father, a son, a brother, and a great friend to so many, gone at 44 years of age.

Driving past the Claremorris GAA club grounds on Saturday morning, where Ger enjoyed some of his finest hours, the memories of ‘Ger Brady Claremorris’ — as we called him, to avoid confusing him with his close friend, ‘Ger Brady Ballina’ — came flooding back.

Ger would have learned how to catch and kick and solo and fist pass at Under-10 training in Canon Gibbons Memorial Park back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He went on to use those skills to devastating effect all across the county and beyond.

Just ask anybody who had the job of marking him when he was at the peak of his powers!

He had it all — style and substance, speed and skill. And he could mind himself too!

Ger could also catch a ball in the air with the best of them and was deadly accurate.

That’s why he made his National League debut for Mayo in November of 1998 against Laois, a full five months before he played Under-21 championship for the first time against Sligo.

I was in Graigecullen that day 26 years ago and, while the memories are sketchy, I can recall the excitement afterwards as we spoke on Mid West Radio about the Claremorris teenager who had come off the bench to play senior for the first time.

John Maughan, the-then Mayo manager, had sent Ger on to replace another handy forward, Damien Quinn from Mayo Gaels. Maughan could see that Ger had something special.

At the time, it felt like the most natural thing in the world because Ger Brady always played football like he was born to. Born to entertain and excite. Born to play on natural instinct.

Born to play for Claremorris and Mayo.

For some reason, I can still remember clearly the first time I saw Ger Brady in action.

It was for Claremorris Boys’ National School against Ballinrobe CBS in the famous South Mayo National Schools Championship, a competition that was harder to win than an All-Ireland. Well, at least it felt that way!

Ger’s name was already known in football circles around South Mayo when he rocked up that day as a strapping 11 year-old and proceeded to run rings around the best that Ballinrobe had to offer. Between the goals and the points and the frees, he filled his boots.

He did the same at Under-12, Under-14, Under-16, minor and Under-21 level to teams all across Mayo.

Like so many young Claremorris footballers that came before and after him, it came easy to Ger. He was a natural.

So it was no surprise when Ger graced Croke Park with the Mayo minors in 1996 and 1997, scoring a point off one Tomás Ó Sé of Kerry in the ‘96 semi-final.

Alas, Ger and those Mayo teams never got a chance to march behind the Artane Band on All-Ireland Final day, but they lived their dreams nonetheless, and made friendships for life.

That much was obvious when they came ‘Together For Ger’ on Christmas week of 2022.

I was lucky enough to be asked to attend that night in ‘The Ranch’ in Claremorris when JP Kean, who managed the Mayo minors in ‘96 and ’97, and most of the players who had soldiered with Ger back in those long hot summers gathered to show him their support.

He had only been diagnosed with MND a matter of months and everyone knew the road ahead was going to be difficult.

But that night Ger’s old team-mates wrapped him in their arms and told him what they thought of him. They spoke of family and friendships and of bonds that will never be broken.

They sat with him and talked and laughed and, truth be told, a few shed tears too.

This weekend Ger Brady is being laid to rest in Claremorris, the town that he represented with distinction for so many years and was so proud to call home.

His life will be celebrated and stories of his famous feats on the football field will be retold.

The memories he left us with are precious and to be cherished.

We will remember Ger as he was — bold and brave, and a joy to watch in full flight.

Forever young.

May his gentle soul rest in peace. We extend our deepest sympathies to Ger’s loving wife, Karen nee Bell, and their son Dylan; his parents, Gerry and Margaret; mother-in-law, Ann; sisters, Elaine Forde, Tara Nally and Louise Grant; brothers-in-law, Richard, Colin, Keith, Tomas and Keith; sisters-in-law, Aisling, Aimee and Edel, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, relatives and many friends.

2 thoughts on “Mayo Football Podcast column: Remembering Ger Brady

  1. Nice tribute Mike.
    Condolences to his wife, child and family.
    May he rest in eternal peace.

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