Tommy Varden was a massive supporter of Galway GAA for many decades and was a real gentleman in any dealings I ever had with him.
At the 20-year reunion of the 1998 squad two weeks ago I spoke to him for a few minutes after the meal.
Tommy was not feeling well as he was fighting a horrible dose of pneumonia, and yet he had made the effort to be there, still chatted and was his usual personable self.
I smiled as he combed his hair in the mirror in the bathroom – and thought ‘there is a man who still takes care of his appearance’. However, I deliberately resisted any smart comment to him as I knew he would give me a solid riposte about my lack of same.
He was as generous with his time as he was with his greatly appreciated sponsorship of Galway football for almost 20 years, and he will be forever associated with the All-Ireland successes of 2001 and 1998.
Tommy had a great sense of humour and was well able to hit you with a one-liner that would put you back in your box in jig-time.
One of my favourite stories about Tommy was told to me by the lads in Quinns Shop in Tuam a good few years ago.
A group of men of a certain demographic were discussing someone’s age and one participant said,
“He must be 70.”
To which Tommy replied.
“Agh for feck’s sake. Everyone is 70.”
Condolences to his family and his wide circle of friends. Tommy will be missed.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.