Last summer, Irish sport mourned a legend. When Tony Keady died suddenly in August at just 53 years of age, a whole county cried, and the rest of the country stopped in its tracks to say goodbye to a legend of the game of hurling.
Except Tony Keady was more than a legend. In 1988, after leading Galway to a second All-Ireland title in succession, he was crowned the greatest hurler in Ireland. He was 25 years of age, and there was nobody like him, nobody to touch him in the maroon No.6 shirt.
Nobody was to know that it would be another 29 years before Galway were to taste that success again. But just weeks before that triumph, the sudden death of Tony Keady threw a pall of sadness across the sport.
Earlier last summer Tony Keady visited award-winning journalist/author and former Meath footballer Liam Hayes to tell him that he wished to tell his whole story in the form of a book. He felt it was time to recall all the stories of a very colourful sporting career.
Alas time was not on Tony’s side and he passed away last August before the book was completed. Tony’s wife, Margaret, his daughter Shannon, and his three boys, Anthony, Harry, and Jake, have now decided to finish telling the story of a father and a hurler who always asked those around him for “110 per cent.”
One month after he died Galway won the All-Ireland title for the first time since 1988, and 80,000 people rose from their seats in the sixth minute of the game to applaud and remember a man who was more than a legend. It was a moment that lifted the shoulders of every Galway fan and player, and inspired the team into a stirring second half to win the MacCarthy Cup.
The book entitled 110 per cent Legend — The Tony Keady Story is edited by Liam Hayes and will be launched in the Lough Rea Hotel and Spa on Friday April 20 at 7.30pm.
The event is being hosted by Margaret Keady and family and Hero Books, and the special guests on the night to launch the book are Joe Canning and Cyril Farrell. Joe has said that this book is one for every hurling fan and he is one of many who have given interviews for it. Others to feature are Conor Hayes, Ger McInerney, Anthony Cuninngham, Tomas Mulcahy and a cast of hundreds who all remember Tony’s life and times.
Everyone who knows Tony and loves Galway hurling is invited to attend the launch. It is an open house to celebrate Tony’s life and huring. The book will be on sale at the launch and in all good bookshops and online from next week. It promises to be a great read.