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Remembering ahurling immortal

TWO of Ireland's most famous clubs, Faughs and Ahane, joined sticks to remember a hurling legend.

Tony Herbert died this year. He was the last surviving member of the Limerick team that won the 1940 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

The two clubs played at Tymon. Ahane won. The return will be in Limerick next year.

"The occasion is all about a celebration of the connection between the Herbert family, Ahane GAA club and Faughs," explained Faughs/Celtic chairman, Michael Devane.

Tony was born in Annacotty. He won nine senior Limerick Championship titles, five in hurling.

He played a pivotal part in Limerick beating Kilkenny in the 1940 All-Ireland final. His Ahane 
team-mate, Mick Mackey, collected the MacCarthy Cup.

He then moved to Dublin to take up a job with New Ireland. He won three Dublin Senior Championship crowns with Faughs and played in two All-Ireland senior finals with Dublin in '48 and '52.

The noted historian, Seamus ó Ceallaigh, stated that "Tony, in full flight, was unstoppable. It was akin to trying to stop the flow of the Shannon with a hay fork."

Tony was elected to the Senate. He was involved with Fianna Fail. Jack Lynch was a close friend.

Tony loved sport. He coached Dublin to win the All-Ireland minor hurling title in 1954.

Four years ago, Tony's 90th birthday was marked at The Goat.

The guests included Kevin Heffernan, Jimmy Gray and ex-Limerick players, John Bresnan and Eamonn Ned Rea.

Before the 1973 Munster final, Tony had told Ned Rea "to raise plenty of dust in the Tipperary square".

For many years, Charlie Chawke travelled with Tony to Limerick's games all over the country. In the fine, coloured brochure produced for the Faughs-Ahane game, Charlie remembers one Munster Hurling final at Semple Stadium.

"We decided to treat ourselves by travelling to the game in a limousine. We had match tickets but no car-pass.

"We tried the impossible and headed for the stadium car-park. We were stopped at the entrance. Tony rolled down the blacked out window a small bit and declared "President on board!

"A passage-way opened up and we were guided to the prime parking spot. On getting out of the car, Tony was greeted by John Doyle like a long lost brother. And then we were led to select seats in the Ard Chomhairle!"

They were seats fit for a King.

And that is how Tony will always be fondly remembered in Ahane and at Faughs.