Boxing star pays touching farewell to his 'mentor' dad
Published 02/03/2011 | 05:00
IT was an emotional and heartfelt farewell to a man who steered numerous Irish boxers to fame and glory.
Olympic gold medalist Michael Carruth yesterday said a touching goodbye to his father Austin 'Aussie' Carruth, a much admired champion of the sport and the man who guided him to glory in 1992.
Mr Carruth died over the weekend, leaving 10 children, 29 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was a major figure in Irish boxing for many years and helped steer numerous young boxers to Irish and international honours from the Drimnagh Boxing Club in Dublin.
His son Michael said his life was boxing but his first love was his wife Joan, whom he married almost 54 years ago.
When he was training for the Olympics, his father acted as both his "mentor and my tormentor" and would wake him up at 4am to give him a glass of water as part of a strict diet.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral Mass in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Greenhills. They included a large number of boxers from the club in which Mr Carruth was the head coach.
The congregation heard how after his son had won the gold medal, the prize was wrapped in a worn and sweaty sock -- the only way it would not be stolen, Mr Carruth said.
Another son, Fergal, said it was not uncommon for his father to cycle out to Santry to work as a carpenter, before returning home to his family of 10 children. "It never fazed him.''
In addition to boxing, he had also been a gifted footballer, runner and long-jumper in his youth and had played a major part in the local community.
"He was a legend, he was a great man, he was so unassuming," Fergal said. "He lived life the way it should be lived."
Austin Carruth is survived by his wife Joan and sons Austin, Martin, Michael, William, Fergal and Robert and daughters Rebecca, Siobhan, Orla and Mary as well as a large extended family.
He was buried in Palmerstown cemetery.
Tributes flowed in at the weekend from a number of figures in the boxing world including Kenny Egan and Bernard Dunne , who was at the funeral, as was Tommy Murphy, president of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.