Foot­ball match a fit­ting trib­ute to Tom Carr

Bray People - - SPORT -

THE 11th of Fe­bru­ary, 1987 was a dark day in the vil­lage of An­nacura, writes Vin­cent O’Fla­herty.

Aged just 49, Tom Carr sadly passed away leav­ing be­hind his wife and young daugh­ter.

Speak­ing to lo­cals who re­mem­ber Tom, it’s hard to be­lieve the 11th of Fe­bru­ary this year marks the 30-year an­niver­sary of Tom’s pass­ing.

To mark the day and cel­e­brate Tom’s life, it is a fit­ting trib­ute that a foot­ball match is tak­ing place in An­nacurra on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 11 at 3 p.m., with the vic­tors tak­ing home the Tom Carr Cup.

An an­niver­sary mass is also tak­ing place on Sun­day the 12th at 11 a.m. in An­nacurra. Ev­ery­one is wel­come to both events but it would be great to see as many mem­bers of the GAA fam­ily who played with and against Tom at the mass on the Sun­day.

The Carr fam­ily are ask­ing peo­ple to bring any old pho­to­graphs they may have and as many stories as they can re­mem­ber.

So, a bit about the man him­self. As a boy, Tom went to school and worked in the fam­ily shop and farm in An­nacurra but foot­ball pro­vided Tom with the op­por­tu­nity to shine for both club and county.

Tom’s first big test came as a 17-year-old when he lined out in the 1955 County Fi­nal against St. Pa­trick’s of Wick­low which at the time was con­sid­ered one of the best foot­ball fi­nals for years. Un­for­tu­nately, An­nacurra lost the game but in the book ‘The Leathers Echo’ which doc­u­ments the story of Wick­low GAA from 1884-1984, it noted that “Seven­teen-year-old farmer, Tommy Carr, had a won­der game for An­nacurra…” This was only the be­gin­ning!

Fol­low­ing his per­for­mance in the 1955 fi­nal, Tom was now des­tined for se­nior foot­ball with County Wick­low.

Hav­ing played in the goal for the county at un­der­age level, Tom mostly played cor­ner back for the Se­nior county team.

Tom was hon­oured to play for Wick­low and never looked out of place in Croke Park and seemed to revel in the big day play­ing against greats such as Dublin’s All-Ire­land win­ners Lar Fo­ley and brothers John and Joe Tim­mons (who also played for An­nacurra).

At club level, it may be 50 years ago this year but those who re­mem­ber the 1967 Ju­nior foot­ball fi­nal against old ri­vals Rath­new, re­call Tom’s role on the day.

Played in the county grounds Tom lined out in the mid­dle of the field mark­ing Moses Cof­fey.

An An­nacurra sup­porter re­mem­bers Tom bring­ing the An­nacurra play­ers to­gether at half time and he told them that if they didn’t pull up their socks they wouldn’t be bring­ing the cup back to the vil­lage of An­nacurra.

Among the many great play­ers on the day, Tom is re­mem­bered for this out­stand­ing sec­ond hand per­for­mance swing­ing the game in An­nacurra’s favour. Read­ing about the 1967 fi­nal in the ‘The Leathers Echo’ it was the match that “Tom Carr scored a point from a free 80 yards out”.

Such a point would surely be a hit on You Tube had it have been scored in re­cent times!!

Con­sid­ered to be one of the fairest and clean­est foot­ballers to play the game, Tom’s high field­ing of the ball was ex­em­plary and once the foot­ball touched the tops of his fin­gers there was only one win­ner. It is also said that his de­liv­ery of the ball was sec­ond to none with for­wards know­ing ex­actly where the ball would be placed. Some say he was that good he could play in any po­si­tion.

So al­though the 11th of Fe­bru­ary 2017 marks 30 years since the un­timely pass­ing of a true great of Wick­low foot­ball, it was de­cided to re­mem­ber Tom and cel­e­brate him through what he loved best – a hard fought foot­ball match and a catch up with fam­ily and friends.

The team to play An­nacurra on the 11th are also turn­ing back the clock and are look­ing to the past for in­spi­ra­tion. The team aptly named St. Brigid’s (af­ter the school and church in An­nacurra) won a county schools cham­pi­onship rep­re­sent­ing Coláiste Bríde in 1999 and are re-unit­ing af­ter 18 years.

It will be an in­ter­est­ing bat­tle on the day as mem­bers of this team went on to pro­duce Le­in­ster vo­ca­tional school’s win­ners, un­der­age and se­nior county foot­ballers as well as one or two Mi­ley Cup win­ners for good mea­sure.

It is cer­tainly wet­ting the ap­petite as a lo­cal derby not to be missed!

The Coláiste Bríde team of 1999 are re­unit­ing af­ter 18 years un­der the name St. Brigid’s for the match to mark the 30th an­niver­sary of the death of Tom Carr.

Tom Carr

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