By John Fallon
Former Hurler of the Year Tony Keady has died in hospital in Galway after suffering a serious illness earlier this week.
The 53-year old passed away shortly before midnight last night surrounded by his family and friends at University College Hospital.
Earlier yesterday evening, over a thousand people attended a special Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Oranmore, where he lived with his wife Margaret and four children.
Parish priest Fr Diarmuid Hogan and Fr Martin McNamara, who coached Tony Keady during his time in Killimordaly and with Galway underage teams, said the community was shocked when news emerged on Tuesday.
Former teammates including his long-standing friend Brendan Lynskey, Sean Silke, Pat Malone, Sylvie Linnane and Michael Coleman — all who won All-Ireland medals with him in 1987 and 1988 — were in attendance.
Joe Canning, Padraig Mannion and Conor Whelan were among many of the current Galway squad in attendance.
Tony Keady had attended Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final win over Tipperary but chief executive of Galway GAA, John Hynes, said the county has been plunged into grief following the sudden death of the former Hurler of the Year.
“People are shocked. A week which started with such joy as our seniors and minors reached the All-Ireland finals is now ending in grief. All we can do is support the Keady family and on behalf of Galway GAA I wish to send our condolences to his family and his many friends. We have lost a legend of the game,” said Hynes.
Funeral arrangements will be announced later.