When I was in a secondary school in Calasanctius College, Oranmore my friends and I used to shout this aloud on a daily basis. Tony was a caretaker in our school so we did this due to his obviously peerless reputation in Galway hurling. However, we also shouted this because at a time when we believed every adult personality in our lives was akin to Satan himself this man was like Jesus. He was almost eternally hilarious, positive, mischievous and charismatic.
Tony Keady was unique in that he was such an obviously confident man yet he made every person he met seem like one of his closest friends. A man who ‘grew six inches taller when he went into Croke Park, was fearless and the bigger the occasion the better he performed’ maintained the exact same personality when walking the halls in Oranmore. I believe that this alone, considering all he has achieved, is a true sign of the man.
Two All-Irelands (should be 3), two NHLs, two All-Stars, one Hurler of the Year Award and a county medal with Killimordaly. Tony Keady was the first modern-style athletic centre back, dominating that area of the pitch as Galway contested five All-Irelands in six years. He was tough, strong and powerful yet ambidextrous, skillful and artistic. He could read the game with unbelievable instinct and to top it all off was almost flawless with long-range frees and ‘70s’.
Finnerty. Keady. McInerney. In Galway even people who weren’t alive as these three men dominated the game know the names because if we did not know their story our parents soon told us. It is symbolic that he is in the middle of the three and even amongst these Galway hurling giants one man stands out for me. Tony Keady was and is an icon, he is a cult hero and will be rightly remembered around the country for decades to come as one of the best centre-backs of all time.
It is so hard to believe that such a brightly spirit and mighty character, that you think is invincible, is gone. There is a bitter taste because Tony has passed when for the first time since he himself won it almost 30 years ago, we have a real, almost tangible chance of bringing Liam McCarthy home to Galway. If we win it, and I hope with everything we do, the achievement will be bursting with thoughts of this man and how much he would have loved seeing us finally end the wait.
Finally and most importantly, our thoughts are with his wife Margaret, and their four children – Shannon, Anthony, and the twins, Jake and Harry. He adored his family and everything he did was for them.
May Tony Rest In Peace.