City’s football family turns out to bid farewell to cup final hero

Hundreds of football fans wearing club colours turned out in the city yesterday afternoon at the funeral of former Galway United footballer Tommy Keane who died suddenly last weekend.

Tommy Keane (44 ) died a short while after playing in a five a-side soccer tournament in the city last Friday. He had participated in an indoor tournament at the Our Lady's Boys Club centre in Sea Road, Galway, when he collapsed as he was going home.

He played football for Bournmouth and Colchester United before returning to Galway in the late eighties. He went on to star in the team which won the 1991 FAI Cup.

Keane scored in every round of that competition until the final where he topped off a Man of the Match performance by setting up the winning goal for Johnny Glynn.

He is survived by his partner Paula O’Flaherty and their son Tommy jnr. At the funeral Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart, Seamus Quirke Road, fans of West United and Galway United held their club colours aloft as his coffin was carried from the church.

The mass was attended by former Galway United president, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins.

Tommy Keane’s death comes less than a year after the deaths of former United players Eamonn Deacy and Eugene Halion. Tommy Keane played in the recent testimonial match at Deacy Park in memory of Chick Deacy.

Tributes have poured in for the man deemed to have been the most talented footballer to have ever played for Galway United.

FAI chief executive John Delaney said that the death of Tommy Keane comes after the passing of two other well known and popular figures in Galway football, Noel Crowley and Eamonn Deacy, in the past year.

“Tommy had actually played in a tournament in memory of Noel Crowley yesterday and the thoughts of everybody, at this sad time, are with his family, friends and all those involved in Galway football."

GUST’s Ronan Coleman said that Tommy passed by Deacy Park most days as he went from his house on the Headford Road to his parents’ home in Corrib Park.

“It would be fitting for him to be remembered there at a Galway United League of Ireland match in the future.

Tommy Shields said that he was honoured to know Tommy Keane.

“I always had a close bond with Tommy Keane - both us came back to Galway at the same time. We travelled all over the country together to United matches. He was the most naturally gifted player to ever play for Galway United.”

 

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