Passage GAA club mourn the loss of great Cork supporter Tony Leahy

Passage GAA club mourn the loss of great Cork supporter Tony Leahy
The late Tony Leahy, far right, at City Hall in 2013 for the launch the CD Rebels Evermore, in aid of Marymount Hospice, with then Lord Mayor Cllr Catherine Clancy, Ray Lucey, Chris O'Shea, Derry Doody, Margaret and Frank Murphy. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE greater Cork and Passage GAA community was saddened to learn of the death of Tony Leahy who died unexpectedly recent.

Tony was a well-known figure locally and nationally and was a great supporter of Cork GAA teams but was equally a proud and loyal Passage GAA stalwart.

Tony was full-back on the Passage team that won the Cork City Divison Junior Football Championship becoming the first team from the club to win a championship since the club entered the City Division in 1952.

That team enjoyed a celebratory reunion last November in the Passage GAA clubhouse to mark the 50th anniversary of that victory over Douglas after a replay, with the great Cork hurler Eddie O’Brien scoring the all-important winner from a sideline kick reminiscent of Maurice Fitzgerald’s sideline kick in Semple Stadium in 2001 for Kerry against Dublin.

The Passage line out in that historic game against Douglas in 1952 was as follows: Matt Aherne, Denis O’Connell, Tony Leahy, Sean Geary, Leo McCarthy, Paddy Buckley, Joe Murphy, Timothy O’Shea, Bernie Meade, George O’Sullivan, Eddie O’Brien, Jimmy Horan, Sean Casey, Johnny Garrett and Finbarr Gilligan. For the final Passage were missing two of their top players John Barry and Justin McCarthy through injury.
The Passage line out in that historic game against Douglas in 1952 was as follows: Matt Aherne, Denis O’Connell, Tony Leahy, Sean Geary, Leo McCarthy, Paddy Buckley, Joe Murphy, Timothy O’Shea, Bernie Meade, George O’Sullivan, Eddie O’Brien, Jimmy Horan, Sean Casey, Johnny Garrett and Finbarr Gilligan. For the final Passage were missing two of their top players John Barry and Justin McCarthy through injury.

I spoke to his lifelong friend Derry Doody, the Editor/Promoter of the All-Ireland Hall of Fame Online Gallery and Scoreboard Memories Ireland.

Tony was very much an integral part of Derry’s ‘This Is Your Life’ productions which toured all over the country. Derry said his great friend was a remarkable person.

“Tony was the man in the background who sought no limelight, but was vital in each and every production which we staged,” Doody said.

“Since the news broke on Friday night those of us close to Tony, friends far and wide, have been united in grief, from his native town of Passage West to his home place off Cork’s Tramore Road. Tributes from around Ireland and also Australia, New York, Sweden, London, Kilkenny and Armagh, and so many more places, have poured in.

“Apart from the GAA, Tony was also well known in bowling circles and liked nothing better than a day at a score. He was well known throughout the Ból Chumann na hÉireann familly whether it was domestic action or up in Armagh which held a special place in his heart.

“Tony was an accomplished card player with Don and 45 games he relished and played with a rare degree of methodical skill.”

Tony, a fitter by trade, and the beloved husband of the late Betty (nee Murray), is survived by sons Paul and Jonathan, and daughters Michelle and Susan.

Tony had a great love of poetry and was a man of great faith in these surreal times; these lines struck a chord: “May the road rise to meet you; May the wind be always at your back; Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”

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