LISTEN: Former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham pays emotional tribute to former teammate Tony Keady
Former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham has paid a heartfelt tribute to former teammate Tony Keady who passed away after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday morning.
The Galway county board confirmed to Independent.ie that Tony passed away at around 12.30 overnight just over a day after the 53-year-old was in Croke Park on Sunday to watch the Tribesmen overcome Tipperary in a thrilling All-Ireland semi-final.
The two-time All-Star is survived by his wife Margaret and their four children and Cunningham noted that Keady had such great passion for his children and the sport of hurling.
“A bit sad in the west of Ireland today with the sad passing of Tony Keady. He’ll be remembered as a great really," Cunningham told Independent.ie's The Throw-In podcast.
"He was larger than life. He adored his kids and he adored hurling really. Brilliant family man and he epitomised everything that was good in the GAA characters in this world.
“He had such a spirit about him and he just loved life and he loved hurling. He would want to be remembered for his passion for the game and his passion for his family."
Keady won two All-Ireland medals with Galway in 1987 and 1988, as well as winning the Texaco Hurler of the Year award in 1988.
Cunningham, who played eight years alongside Keady for the Tribesmen, said that the Killimordaly defender was the best centre-back of the last 30 years.
“To me, he was an outstanding centre-back," added Cunningham.
"I was asked last week where do you think the most pivotal position in hurling is, and you’d look no further than the greats who have played at centre-back, and Tony was leading those really over the last 30 years.
“His skill level was huge and he’d always time himself as well to be at his best in the All-Ireland semi-final and All-Ireland final, and he was always fully focused on that and wanted to be the best guy.
“Which is a mark of greatness in the top, top players that you’ll ever see. They just want big moments, big days, big crowds, and Tony wanted to be at the top.
“And that’s what you want and he delivered in abundance really for Galway.”
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