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Tony Keady memorial match in Galway draws crowd of 7,000

Former Galway greats played against All-Ireland hurling champions in novel match

Tony Keady’s daughter Shannon with 1988 star Eanna Ryan. Photograph: Hany Marzouk

A crowd of more than 7,000 people turned out in Kenny Park in Athenry on Thursday evening to witness All-Ireland champions Galway take on a team made up of the Tribesmen teams from the 1980s.

Players from several other counties – along with the victorious Galway minor hurling team and members of the county camogie team – also participated in the novel match in memory of former All-Star Tony Keady who died suddenly last month.

The 53-year-old was centre-back on the Galway team which won the All-Ireland title in 1987 and 1988 with his performances in the latter year winning him the Hurler of the Year crown.

Mr Keady’s widow Margaret and her four children were present at the unique match. The couple’s daughter Shannon (15), who won an All-Ireland U-16 camogie medal recently, was honoured while their sons Anthony (13) and 11-year-old twins Jake and Henry carried the Liam MacCarthy Cup as well as the national league and Leinster championship trophies on to the pitch.

Happy and sad occasion

Mr Keady’s former colleague and long-standing friend Brendan Lynskey said it was both a happy and sad occasion as they remembered the hurler.

“It’s been a great week for Galway hurling, Tony would have loved it but thanks to everyone for turning out,” said Mr Lynskey, who also won All-Ireland medals in 1987 and 1988.

Among those participating were 1980s hurlers Joe Cooney and Gerry McInerney, lining up opposite their sons Joseph and Gearoid who were key members in Sunday’s win over Waterford.

Another father and son combination saw 1980s forward Eanna Ryan play against his son Shane, who was on the Galway minor side which defeated Cork on Sunday.


Offaly’s Biran Whelehan, Colin Lynch and Frank Lohan from Clare, and Ger Hegarty from Limerick were among the hurlers from other counties to participate.

And the attendance also included several members of the Southern Kings rugby team from South Africa who will play Connacht in the Pro14 on Saturday. They arrived in Dublin last Sunday and got caught in the All-Ireland traffic on the way to Galway.

As for the scoreline in the match, referee Christy Browne decided to stop counting after an early flurry of goals from the 1980s team, but a replay has not been ruled out.