Tributes to Tom Reid

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THE news of the death in Montreal recently of Tom Reid has been received with widespread regret in Ireland and among the many friends he made throughout the rugby world in a distinguished playing career. He was 79.

Tom Reid made his initial impact in the colours of Garryowen in the late 1940s in the company of among others, his cousin Paddy, the former international and member of Ireland's 1948 Grand Slam team, who had led the club to success in the Munster Senior Cup in 1947.

Tom, a second row forward of immense bravery and substance, went on to win Cup medals again in 1952 and - as the captain - in 1954.

He gave a memorable performance for Munster against Australia at the Mardyke in December 1947, a match Munster lost by a point to a last-minute try.

Tom won the first of 13 international caps against England in 1953, and he earned a place on the Lions team that toured South Africa in 1955. He played in two Tests on that tour, when the Lions shared the series, including the third Test won by the tourists 9-6. He had played in the second Test, but at number eight, before reverting to the second row.

He was a popular member of that great touring team, and his wit and his wisdom enlivened many a gathering at home and abroad.

He played his last international against Wales in 1957. He was also on the Munster team that lost 6-3 to New Zealand in 1954.

He emigrated to Canada at the end of his rugby career. He was a regular visitor to his native Limerick, and that renowned rugby city has sent out no more popular rugby personality and few better players.

Just few years ago he returned to Garryowen and was honoured along with many of the club's former internationals with a special club cap to mark their international appearances. He was in his element that night surrounded by so many of his former team mates and old friends.

Tom Reid's deeds and many-sided contributions to Garryowen, Munster, Ireland, the Barbarians and the Lions will be long remembered.

Sincere sympathy is extended to his wife and relatives.

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