A week of joy for Galway hurling ends in grief with death of Keady
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 on Wednesday surrounded by his family and friends at University College Hospital.
Mr Keady had only just attended Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final win over Tipperary.
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," he said.
"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."
Conor Hayes captained the victorious sides in 1987 and 1988, and paid tribute to Mr Keady.
"He was such a gifted hurler. I often played behind him and I always was confident with Tony in front of me," he told RTÉ Sport. "People ask me how he would get on in the modern game and I have no doubt he would excel. He was so naturally gifted and was a brilliant distributor of the ball."
President Michael D Higgins said: "It is with deep sadness I have learned of the death of legendary Galway hurler Tony Keady.
"He will be missed by all his colleagues in Killimordaly GAA Club, and by the hurling and GAA community at large.
"Sabina and I wish to express our deepest sympathy to his wife Margaret, his four children, his friends and colleagues."
Earlier on Wednesday more than a thousand people attended a special Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Oranmore, where he lived with his family. Parish priest Fr Diarmuid Hogan and Fr Martin McNamara, who coached Mr Keady at in Killimordaly and with Galway under-age teams, said the community was shocked when news emerged.
Former teammates including his long-standing friend Brendan Lynskey, Sean Silke, Pat Malone, Sylvie Linnane and Michael Coleman were in attendance.