AN TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has led the tributes to former Dublin dual star Lar Foley who died suddenly yesterday morning at the age of 65.
Lar, a member of the St Vincent's club with whom he enjoyed many successes, made his first impact on the county scene when he won successive All-Ireland minor football medals with Dublin in 1955-56.
He quickly earned promotion to the senior ranks, making his debut in 1957 and was at right full-back on the team which beat Derry in the 1958 All-Ireland final.
He won a second All-Ireland medal in 1963 when he was again at right corner-back on the Dublin team which beat Galway in the final.
An equally talented hurler, he was at left full-back on the last Dublin team to reach the All-Ireland senior final in 1961, when they lost to Tipperary by a point.
He also played for Leinster in both codes, winning Railway Cup hurling medals in 1962 and 1964. His younger brother Des, who pre-deceased him, was also a dual star with Dublin and Leinster.
Lar managed the Dublin senior hurling team for a spell, guiding them to successive Leinster finals where they lost to Offaly by five points in 1990 and to Kilkenny by two points a year later.
His massive interest in the game never waned and he was recently appointed a patron to the Friends of Dublin Hurling Club.
Bertie Ahern described Lar as a man of immense talent who loved his sport.
"His passion for the games was infectious and he was always fully involved in every aspect of the sport. He travelled the length and breadth of the country for the game.
"He was a great player, manager and supporter. Hurling and football have been enriched by his involvement," he said.
"It is not only the St Vincent's and Dublin followers who will share in the loss but all Gaelic games people throughout the country.
"I met Lar during the week at a Dublin Hurling meeting and we had a great chat and I am glad to have had that chance to talk with him about the sport about which he was so passionate."
Lar is survived by his wife Jo, sons Liam, Johnny and Pat and daughters, Denise, Lorraine and Barbara.