Tony Reddin (1919-2019) Remembered
Munster Senior Hurling Championship, Tipperary v Portláirge, Semple Stadium, May 19, 2019
In a fine nostalgic piece in the 1981 Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook, Seamus Leahy recalls a visit from his uncle Paddy and Jimmy Maher after Lorrha’s defeat by Holycross in the 1948 county final. He produced an autograph book and his uncle wrote: ‘Sensation: Holycross won county championship 1948. Tipp will win All-Ireland championship 1949.’
Then he handed the book to Jimmy, who wrote: ‘Jim Maher, Boherlahan.’
‘Identify yourself,’ urged Paddy, ‘Jim Maher, Boherlahan could be anyone. Write ‘Tipp goalie.’
‘Not after today,’ said Jimmy, ‘didn’t you see your man, Reddin, today? He’s your goalie now.’
Jimmy was right. After eight years as Tipperary’s senior goalkeeper he was to give way to this ‘unknown’, who had shown unusual ability during the North and county championship. He was picked as Jimmy’s replacement for the county’s first game in the league against Offaly on October 24 and played his last game against New York in October 1957. His tenure with Lorrha was from Easter Sunday 1947 until April 1958 during which time he won two North championship medals in 1948 and 1956.
Mullagh to Lorrha
Tony arrived in Lorrha from Mullagh, Co. Galway early in 1947 at the age of twenty-eight years. He had shown promise in his native county, playing with the county juniors and seniors and with the Connaght Railway Cup team. He won a Connaght junior hurling medal in 1940 and played full-forward with the county against Tipperary in the Monaghan Cup game in London in 1946. However, it wasn’t until he crossed the Shannon that his true potential was realised.
His list of achievements is impressive by any standards, As well as winning three All-Irelands, six national Leagues, two Brendan Cup medals and one Oireachtas, he also won six Railway Cup medals and four ‘Ireland Team’ cups. He travelled to London on nine occasions and played on the wining Monaghan Cup team on eight occasions. His ninth visit was as a substitute in 1957, when Tipperary were beaten. He was also picked for the Number 1 position on the Teams of the Century and the Millennium.
One of the Greats
There is nobody to deny that he was one of the greats of hurling history. He was great in the days when a goalkeeper’s fate was to be bundled into the back of the net, if the backs gave the forwards sufficient leeway. Tony’s greatest asset was to stop the ball dead so that it rolled down to his chest or his feet. He would leave the ball on the ground until the last moment and then, with the forwards rushing in, he would take it, sidestep them and have plenty of space to clear. He claimed to know which side of the goal the ball would come by watching which foot a forward was on when he hit the ball. Whatever the reason for his greatness, his stopping prowess was the bane of forwards and a joy to supporters for many a year.
The Banagher Connection
Tony Reddin died on March 1, 2015 in his ninety-sixth year, survived by his wife, Maura (nee Smyth) whom he married in 1956, and nine children, six girls and three boys. The family moved from Lorrha to Banagher in 1964 and Tony took over as manager and selector of the local St, Rynagh’s team that won ten out of twelve county finals between 1966-1976. He had a very simple message on the training pitch, develop a quick touch, deliver the ball fast and always do it diagonally. Tony’s son, Cathal, who played with Offaly and later with Paris Gaels had the distinction of winning Poc Fada na hEorpa at Tongeren on July 7,
Of all the medals that Tony won during his distinguished hurling career, one that he cherished greatly was the 1933 county under-14 medal he won with his native place, Mullagh. Quite recently two of his grandchildren, twins Orla and Aisling Gaughan, won the Galway under-14 county camogie final with Ardrahan. Tony would have enjoyed the co-incidence!