Galway mourn the passing of hurling legend Tim Sweeney
Galway hurlers may have rung in the New Year in Mexico as part of their holiday reward for winning the All-Ireland title but back home there's sadness in the county following the death of Tim Sweeney at the age of 88.
Regarded as one of Galway's best-ever hurlers, he played in an era when All-Ireland glory eluded the maroon-and-white, which went from 1923 to 1980 without a senior title.
They lost the 1955 final to Wexford by eight points and suffered another setback in 1958 when going down to Tipperary by ten points. They received a bye into both finals, a policy which helped neither Galway nor the All-Ireland championship
With Tipperary hot favourites in 1958, the final attracted only 47,000 spectators, 30,000 fewer than the turn-out at the Kilkenny-Waterford replay a year later and 24,000 less than the attendance at the Kilkenny-Waterford final in 1957.
Inspirational The apparent anomaly of allowing Galway directly into the final twice in four seasons led to a change of format. Galway joined the Munster Championship in 1959 and remained there for ten years.
It was an unhappy period for the Tribesmen, who enjoyed only one win when beating Clare in 1961. Sweeney captained the team that year, giving him the distinction of being the only Galway player to lead his team to victory on their southern adventures. At club level, he was an inspirational figure with Fohenagh for many years, playing a major part in their Galway championship triumphs in 1959 and 1960.
His remains will repose in St Patrick's Funeral Home, Fohenagh today (4-8pm), followed by removal to St Patrick's Church. Funeral Mass at noon tomorrow.