Tony’s passing creates a huge void in our club
You only have to go into the list of messages of condolence on
RIP to establish just how popular and highly respected Tony
Coleman was. Not only are there kind words from friends,
family and former work colleagues, but, as you would expect,
the GAA fraternity at large. And among the latter are
representatives of clubs around the town, along with our own.
Tony, who died on Friday at just over 88 years of age, gave our
club outstanding service, going back to when he was a boy. He
couldn’t really have avoided being involved. Two of his uncles,
Willie Lawless and Paddy Coleman, were founder-members, in
1928, and in supporting the blue-and-while, he was following in
the footsteps of his older brother, Seanie, who passed away last
year and the wonderful age of 91.
While he wasn’t a regular on our football teams, instead
concentrating on the administrative side of things, doing
phenomenal work at fund-raising level, in particular. But he had
his moments on the field, taking great satisfaction telling us
one night about his scoring feat in a junior match many years
The chat was on a famous Louth goalkeeper, and when we had
all finished singing the praises of the No 1, Tony quietly
reminded us that he “stuck three past him one day”.
That the club is in a steady financial state can be attributed to
the a solid fund-raising drive that’s always been part of our
activity. Until illness curtailed his activities, Tony was a major
contributor, his support for draws, walks and, in particular, the
lotto difficult to quantify. If there was someone in PJ Carrolls –
where Tony worked – who wasn’t subscribing to the lotto, it
could only have been because he or she wasn’t on talking terms
with our ace collector.
A number of years back, the County Board asked each club to
name its most valuable member. We had no hesitation in
forwarding Tony’s name. On the presentation night, he did us
proud by making an impromptu speech on behalf of all the
winners. It the scheme had been made an annual affair, there’s
little doubt he’d have been on the podium many more times on
When he wasn’t totally enmeshed in Gaels affairs, Tony would
be looking after his greyhounds. For many years he kept a few
out the back of his house in Pearse Park, having learnt the
training game’s rudiments from his uncle, Willie, who, in his
time kept a very successful kennel in Mulholland Avenue.
Laroline, which he trained for PJ Carrolls colleague, Dessie
McDonnell, was one of his best ever, the handsome black
winning many races, one of them the final of the prestigious
Cambridgeshire, at Shelbourne Park. There were others who hit
the mark, helping Tony to often hit the bookies.
Tony’s passing leaves a big void in the club. He may not have
been as active as usual in recent years due to his illness, only
occasionally coming about Pairc na nGael: but he was never far
from his thoughts, and there was rarely a gathering at which his
name wasn’t mentioned.
Our sympathy goes to the boys, Anto, Eddie, Peter and Shane,
the girls, Rita, Joan and Deborah, Tony’s brothers, Gerry and
Ollie, sisters, Maura, Eileen, Peggy and Theresa, his
grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many other
relatives and friends.
We were proud to provide Tony with a guard of honour on his
removal to St Patrick’s Church and at his funeral in St Patrick’s
Cemetery. His coffin was draped in the club’s colours.
by Joe Carroll