If Operation Transformation’s Kerry star, Paudie O’Mahoney had any doubts about the depth of support his on-screen efforts have garnered, they were well and truly dispelled in Castleisland on Thursday night.
On arrival at An Riocht Athletic Club grounds on Thursday night it took him a solid quarter of an hour to make the 50 or so paces from his car to the door of the clubhouse.
His hand was shook, he was hugged and kissed – by women from all parts of the county and beyond. He was presented with items to mark his visit and to confirm the levels of support for his campaign. The former Kerry star goalkeeper, who has carried the hopes of the county on his broad shoulders before, proved a paragon of patience as he dealt with his admirers and posed for photographs.
After making it on to the track, where a crown in excess of 200 people waited in a down-pour to walk a few laps with him, he was introduced by facility manager, Denny McSweeney.
Paudie spoke of how the well-wishers and the people of the county have inspired him in turning his life around.
“It’s a great inspiration for me to see ye all out here this evening and I hope I inspire ye as well. We should all get out in the fresh air in the evenings and this is a fantastic facility here and I will come back here again when Operation Transformation is over,” said Paudie.
He then invited Operation Transformation finalist, Richard Harnett to the head of the group with him as they geared to go.
Then, the gathering of all ages, took off for a few laps and many of them completely oblivious to the rain as the excitement of the occasion took hold.
Richard Harnett has joined the Abbeyfeale based Shakti Fitness Studio Challenge and is delighted with his progress under the regime there of Breda O’Grady and fitness instructor, Maggie Large.