Football match a fitting tribute to Tom Carr
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.