Synonymous with the GAA at both a club and county level, Pat Compton needs no introduction.
In his own words, however, it’s not for his footballing achievements. Having togged out in both St. Faithleach’s and Boyle jerseys in his youth before ever donning the black and amber of Strokestown, Pat admits that “all the medals in our house belong to Colin and Cathal” — his two sons.
Despite his typical Irish modesty, it is Pat’s ubiquitous influence in the GAA community that makes him the respected figure he is today.
“I’d hate for anybody to think I’m anything but a ‘Joe Soap’. I don’t do much now,” said Roscommon GAA’s Central Council delegate.
Pat held the role as Strokestown Minor Secretary for ten years before the turn of the century. As well as holding other roles such as PRO, he chaired the Strokestown Pitch Development Group between 2006 and 2012 that successfully developed both an all-weather playing and training pitch, a stand, and dressing rooms beside the secondary school in the town.
“There was a big team involved, I was only the chair of it. There was serious fundraising done for it and it was a big project led by plenty of people,” he highlighted.
Despite having retired three years ago from his duties in An Post, Pat never finds himself idle.
“They say trouble comes to idle hands so it’s good to just do a bit,” he laughed.
“I continue to mow the pitches with Paul Daly and I line the pitches with Johnny Murphy. Johnny Murphy would be the main man with me. He’s a long, long time servant of Strokestown GAA.
“During the summer you’d be mowing them twice a week and if there’s matches you need to line it once a week at least,” he explained.
A key figure in the growth of Club Rossie, Pat was chairperson of both the ‘Win a House in Dublin’ and ‘Win A Home in London’ committees, which netted just under €2 million for Roscommon GAA in two years.
In the maiden campaign, Pat travelled the length and breadth of the county and country, selling tickets for the hugely successful draw that changed the game for GAA fundraising committees nationwide.
“This time around, with the restrictions, we couldn’t do that, and I missed it to some extent,” he remarked.
“We still got the support from a number of clubs around, which was great, but I did miss going around in person to physically sell the tickets and chat to people. For the first draw, we had the stand in garages and shopping centres and things like that, so I missed that too.
“It was hugely demanding work, but it was very satisfying at the same time,” he reflected.
In the end, it was Pat’s own back garden that played host to the live broadcast of the Win A Home In London Draw on December 30th, 2020.
They say behind every good man is an even better woman and Pat’s other half Linda is one of the many quiet volunteers that contributes behind the scenes to both club and county.
“When I was involved with the club first, Linda would have been the one going out and putting the bandages on the children’s knees and stuff like that.
“She’d do the bits of lotto selling and whatever else needs doing. She was involved with Club Rossie in a non-official sense too. She came around the clubs with me the first time for the Win A Home in Dublin draw.”
“It’s hard to believe, but there was a time dressing rooms were swept without it being recorded for a social media frenzy. Every day for a fortnight ahead of the 2018 Connacht final, Linda could be found in her marigolds in some nook or cranny of Dr Hyde Park, quietly and happily doing her bit.
“We’d a job on our hands for the 2018 Connacht final to get the Hyde ready. Linda was down with the gloves getting the dressing rooms ready and cleaning up the place a bit. She and a few other volunteers were painting doors, putting in toilet roll holders and sweeping the place every day.
“The way we see it is, this is when we have the time to give back to the GAA and society. Nobody should need to be thanked for doing something like that. It’s important that you do.”
Aside from his passion for the GAA, his latest project has seen Pat’s attention honed in on the salvation of the curlew bird in Ireland.
“I’m almost done writing up a report on the curlew now that a group of people are involved in trying to save it from extinction.
“The world is there to be saved every day.”