Tony Reddin, who died on Sunday aged 95, was a Galway native who established a reputation with Tipperary as a legendary hurling goalkeeper, whose brilliance was recognised in his selection in the GAA’s ‘Team of the Century’ and then in the ‘Team of the Millennium.’
He was born in Mullagh and christened Martin Charles Reddington.
He played minor and junior with Galway and won his only medal at county juvenile level — playing at centre-field — in 1933. Sixteen years later, approaching his 30th birthday, he would win the first of three consecutive All-Ireland medals, having firmly established a reputation as a goalkeeper of outstanding quality.
In 1946, he played full-forward for Galway in the Monaghan Cup against Tipperary in London and later that year was sub goalie when the Westerners lost to Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final.
The following year he moved to Lorrha to take up employment and starred with the local club when they won the North Tipp title in 1948 after a 21-year lapse. That team was captained by the late Hubie Hogan, a former Tipp chairman and the father of former Tipp goalkeeper and coach Ken Hogan.
“The great Seanie Duggan was in goal with Galway at the time and Tony was not getting his game, so he transferred to Lorrha,” he recalled. “My father and my uncle who was also on the ‘48 team would have regaled me with stories about him, so I was brought up in that tradition of him being the greatest goalkeeper of all time.”
Quickly called up to the Tipp panel, he lined out in the delayed 1947-48 League final against Cork in October and made his Munster championship debut the following year against the Rebels in the Gaelic Grounds. Apart from his three All-Ireland successes, he won six league medals, five Railway Cup medals and his last appearance with the county was in the US in 1957.
In his book “Tipperary GAA Story 1935-1984,” Seamus King wrote that Reddin regarded the 1950 Munster final against Cork in Killarney as the toughest game he ever played in. It was notable for the encroachment of hundreds of fans on to the sideline and memorable for an incident where former Taoiseach Jack Lynch reportedly charged in to tackle Reddin on the goal-line after he brought off magical saves from Lynch and Christy Ring.
On the occasion of the announcement of the Team of the Millennium in Croke Park in 2000, Reddin told me in an interview that it was untrue he said to Lynch that “if he came in again there would be a by-election in Cork”.
Moving to Banagher, Co. Offaly to take up a job with Bord na Móna, he was involved with St Rynagh’s when they won 10 county championships, between 1965 and 1976.
In a tribute, Tipperary chairman Michael Bourke said that the name of Tony Reddin would go down in hurling folklore as one of hurling’s legends. “His goalkeeping genius, which inspired many, is as vibrant today, not alone to Tipperary people but all Gaels in general, as we recall the greatness of his unique talent,” he said.
FUNERAL DETAILS: Reposing at his home today from 12pm until 7pm followed by removal afterwards to St Rynagh’s Church, Banagher arriving for prayers at 8pm. Mass on Wednesday at 12pm followed by burial in Bonoham Cemetery, Rathcabbin. Family flowers only please.
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