Paul Jordan, third from left on front row, with Daingean in the 1980s. Picture: Daingean GAA website.
NEWS of the sudden and untimely death of a talented former sports man today has stunned the many people who knew, liked and admired him.
Paul Jordan was a native of Daingean and lived in Killeenmore, Killeigh for several years. In his early 50s, he was very well known in his native area, adopted home and the town of Tullamore where he worked for most of his life.
He died from injuries sustained in an accident and he leaves a tremendous void in the lives of many people, particularly his family and close friends. The father of six children and in his early fifties, he made a great contribution in a variety of areas.
The late Paul Jordan
An employee of An Post, with whom he worked in Tullamore, he was a very well known sportsman. He was a capable Offaly GAA refereee for several years, refereeing football games at every level up to and including senior. He was a good referee with a common sense approach and a great understanding of the game – an understanding that came from his own experience as a player and an intimate knowledge of the way players operated and the things they tried to get away with.
He also refereed a lot of ladies football games as well as schoolboys soccer ones. He was an obliging and reliable referee and enjoyed this role after his own playing career ended.
Paul Jordan was an excellent footballer and soccer player himself. He gave years of service to his native Daingean and his adult career spanned the late 1980s through to the early 2000s. It co-incided with a spell during which Daingean slipped down the Offaly footballing pecking order and out of senior football but he was one of their star figures, a lightening fast, explosive forward with a great eye for goal.
He won a Junior “B” Football Championship medal with Daingean in 1987 and produced a man of the match performance in their final win over Drumcullen. Playing at wing forward, Jordan scored 2-5, 2-3 from play in Daingean's comprehensive 2-11 to 0-6 win with one of his goals particularly timely as it ended a Drumcullen rally and the new champions pulled away for a comfortable win.
That was a great year for Daingean as they also won the new Senior “B” Football Championship, beating St John's in the final – St John's was an amalgamation of Ballinamere and Durrow and it was Jordan's youth and lack of physicality at that stage of his career that kept him off the panel and in junior “B” football.
However, Jordan's ascent to the Daingean first team and senior football was inevitable and within a couple of years he had a place nailed down. He played his best football for Daingean in the early to mid 1990s. Daingean had a decent team for some of that time and their best year was in 1993 when they reached the Senior Football Championship semi-final. In a knockout championship, they shocked Tullamore by 1-13 to 0-12 in the first round in Walsh Island – their fellow parishioners Cappincur took the then prize scalp of Gracefield on the same day, an afternoon of tremendous passion, drama and excitement. Jordan was outstansding in Daingean's win and his three points from play were crucial to their success.
In the quarter-final, a now fancied Daingean were almost brought down to earth as they were pushed to the pin of their collar to beat Kilcormac/Killoughey by 1-11 to 0-10. That was a game of incredible talking points. The sides were level at 0-10 each with time almost up and Jordan had scored two fine points on a day when Daingean failed to reproduce their Tullamore form. A “45” from Martin Daly, who was carrying an injury, edged them in front and there were extraordinary scenes in injury time. A lot of injury time was played because of an injury that resulted in Paul Jordan being replaced. As an ambulance prepared to take the stricken player to hospital, a fierce row erupted over on the side of the old grass hill, now the terrace in O'Connor Park. As most players went to the scene, some as peace makers, some with more sinister intent, the K/K goal was left unguarded and much to the amazement of all present, the referee, the late Eddie Dunne (Ballinagar) waved play on and a bemused Tony Kenny ran on unchallenged to kick the ball into an empty net – two players, one from each side were sent off while another K/K player had been dismissed shortly before Daly's “45”.
Daingean survived that day by the skin of their teeth but the warning bells had been sounded and the semi-final against Clara proved a bridge too far. Daingean competed well in the first half and trailed by just 0-6 to 0-5 at the break. However, eventual champions Clara ran riot in the second half as they won by 3-12 to 2-7 – Jordan was one of Daingean's better players as he scored 1-1, punching his goal in the second half.
That was a good Daingean team. They had a very young John Kenny, a few years before he won Leinster SFC and National Football League medals with Offaly in 1997 and 1998, and a Leinster U-21 FC in 1995, his brother Tony, former Offaly senior footballers in Sean McEvoy and Pat Spollen – people retain great memories of the brilliance of Spollen, even if he did not fulfill his immense potential. Some outstanding performances by another young player, Richie Galvin saw him play three National Football League games at wing back later that Winter and they also had sterling club players, hardy consistent performers such as JJ Stapleton, Martin Daly, Brendan Donagher and many others.
That, however, was to be Daingean's last time to truly threaten to contend for the Dowling Cup. They had a good 1-8 to 0-8 win over Rhode in 1995 with Jordan scoring a point, three years before the soon to be dominant force ended a long twenty three year famine.
After this, there were few highlights. Daingean won the Division 2 Football League in 1999, beating Tullamore by 0-10 to 0-7 in the final with Jordan getting two points but they soon bowed out of senior ranks. It was a transitional period for Daingean. John Kenny transferred to Tullamore, dealing them a devastating blow and many of the above mentioned elder statesmen retired or drifted away. Jordan, however, kept his shoulder to the wheel.
Daingean were beaten 3-6 to 0-9 by Ballyfore in the 2001 Intermediate Football Championship final – Jordan scored a point. A year later they made amends, beating Clonbullogue by 1-10 to 2-6 in a closely and fiercely contested final that went right down to the wire. Jordan was key to Daingean's win and experience and ability to encourage crucial to an emerging younger brigade. His early goal when he reacted quickly to a breaking free to drive a low shot to the Clonbullogue net ultimately proved to be the difference – that goal settled a nervous side and they hung on for dear life as Clonbullogue threw the kitchen sink at them late on.
Daingean's return to senior was very brief. Beaten by Doon in 2003, they were relegated in 2004 after losing five games on the trot. Their fall from grace was completed in 2006 when they slipped to junior and that was a devastating blow to a club who have won three senior football titles and supplied some of the great figures of Offaly football, greats such as Tommy Greene, Kevin Kilmurray and Mick Wright.
Jordan drifted off the scene shortly after the 2002 championship win as Daingean suffered some devastating defeats before winning junior in 2014, suffering relegation again and regaining junior again last year.
Paul Jordan was a very good club player. He had terrific pace and could leave most defenders for dead. He had a great eye for goal, able to take points and goals and he had skill. He was not a big man but had a good leap, occasionally punching goals or points and while he was a very clean player, he was able to mind himself and he was very competitive. He didn't play for the county seniors and probably didn't have all the attributes needed for that level but for a few years in the 1990s, he was one of the fastest and most dangerous club forwards in Offaly.
Those were traits that he also brought to soccer. While football seemed to be his first choice game, he played a lot of soccer and was capable of playing at a decent level. He played for Tullamore, including their firsts team, while he also played for Coolraine for several years. Coolraine had a good side at that time, competing in the Major Division of the Leinster Football League Counties Divisions, and he played mainly on the wing. His speed and skill proved devastating to opposing teams – Coolraine loved playing teams who pushed up to the half way line, knowing that a quick ball in behind the cover could yield deadly results if Jordan got on it. In a race for possession with a clear sight on goal, there were very few junior defenders capable of staying with Jordan and this tactic yielded a lot of goals for them. Apart from his speed and skill Jordan was also a very good finisher.
After retiring, he remained involved in sport. Apart from refereeing, he coached teams in Killeigh Schoolboys/Girls soccer club and ladies football. His passion for sport never left him.
He worked in Burlington in Tullamore before joining the post service. He initially worked as a postman with them before advancing up the ranks. He worked on the counter in the Post Office as he moved into the clerical side of things and eventually moved up the ladder into management. He was a popular and highly regarded work colleague.
Paul Jordan was a very nice man. He was personable, a great conversationalist and excellent company. He had an engaging manner, was very likeable and was generally in good cheerful form. After his playing career ended, he stayed fit by refereeing and jogging. Like everyone, he had his challenges in life while he was devastated when his brother Larry was killed in an accident several years ago.
He leaves a lasting legacy of treasured memories and will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and dealing with him. May he rest in peace. His funeral arrangements will be announced later.
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