On Sunday the people of Dunloy and Ballerin turned out in force to bid farewell to local legend Paddy ‘Pappy’ O’Kane. Requiem mass was held in St Joseph’s Dunloy before his remains were taken to his native Balerin for burial. Survived by his wife Pauline and sons Gerard and Gregory, (plus daughters-in-law Angela and Oonagh, and their children). Paddy was part of the large O’Kane family of Maureen, John Eddie, Barney, Anne, Sally, Bernadette, Charlie, Vera, Tommy, Paul, Gary and the late Jimmy, Rosie, Dolores and Felix.
Paddy had a great love and passion for the GAA – hurling , football and Camogie, having played football for his native Ballerin he was also a former chairman of Derry Camogie Board and served on committees in Dunloy, as well as managing the club’s senior football team. However Paddy will always be best remembered as the man who led St Brigid’s Accordion Band Dunloy – at St Patrick’s day parades or at Gaelic games, when St Brigid’s Accordion band took to the road at the front was Pappy O’Kane. Well known all over the country, he lead the band at a wide range of events. His greatest occasion as band leader came in 1995 when he lead his band in Croke Park on 17th March 1995 when Dunloy played Birr in the All Ireland Club Hurling Final, a Dunloy team containing his son Gregory and his brother Gary. On Sunday morning as his remains were removed from his home in Main Street Dunloy the band played outside the family home as the coffin was lifted into the hearse for the start of his final journey. The O’Kane family, Dunloy and north Antrim have lost a bright light, a real character who was the heart and soul of everything he was involved in from football, hurling, camogie, the St Brigid’s Band and also the haulage business which was a major part of his life.