Wednesday 26 June 2019

GAA stars past and present turn out to bid final farewell to 'Blue Panther' O'Toole

Teammates: From left, Fran Ryder, Bobby Doyle, Kevin Moran and Paddy Cullen shoulder the remains of Anton O’Toole for his funeral Mass. Photo: Mark Condren
Teammates: From left, Fran Ryder, Bobby Doyle, Kevin Moran and Paddy Cullen shoulder the remains of Anton O’Toole for his funeral Mass. Photo: Mark Condren
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The Sam Maguire Cup stood proudly on the altar of Mount Argus Church as a touching tribute to Dublin legend Anton O'Toole.

The 'Blue Panther' was given the ultimate send-off by some of Dublin's most celebrated GAA stars past and present as a huge crowd said their final goodbyes in the capital.

Former teammates of the four-time All Ireland winner, who were described as a "great comfort" to O'Toole before he died, helped carry his coffin to the church. Members of the current Dublin senior team and Templeogue Synge Street GAA were also given the honour of carrying it and were met with resounding applause from the congregation.

Among the notable figures who attended the funeral were Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring and Commandant Caroline Burke, who is the Aide de Camp to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern also attended the service.

Parish priest Fr Joe Kennedy described the 'Blue Panther' as a "legend, through and through".

"He was an extraordinary man, who had done the entire city of Dublin proud on so many occasions," he said.

"People have come from all over the country to be here, including his old teammates, and I'm sure his family greatly appreciate their efforts."

O'Toole's sister Nuala Leacy told the congregation that she was amazed at the level of support her brother received during his illness.

Mourners gather outside Mount Argus Church. Photo: Mark Condren
Mourners gather outside Mount Argus Church. Photo: Mark Condren

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

"He had so many groups of friends from the GAA, horse racing and golf," she said.

"They all came to visit him when he was sick and stayed by his side 'til the very end.

"He was an amazing person and deserves all the admiration shown to him."

Before the service ended, Irish musician Mary Black, who was a close friend of O'Toole's, sang 'Raglan Road', alongside the GAA legend's former teammates.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Why Kerry are not top contenders to challenge Dublin in All-Ireland race

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport