There are times when a death in a community provokes widespread shock, disbelief and sadness. The recent death of Tony Carew evoked these emotions. He was an extremely active person and a most unlikely candidate to die in this manner.
Tony Carew was a hurling legend in Kildare and had the proud distinction of being selected on the Team of the Millennium. His contribution to Coill Dubh Hurling club is immeasurable. He commenced playing at underage level in 1959 and 28 years later he won his first Senior Hurling Championship medal. It was the pinnacle of a playing and administrative career with his beloved Coill Dubh.
The club won numerous underage and adult championships prior to the senior breakthrough and indeed almost went out of existence in the early 1980s.
Tony served in many capacities and featured strongly in the club’s revival. The “Reds” went on to win The Centenary Championship in 1984. The senior breakthrough came in 1987, thirty years on from the club’s formation. Coill Dubh had arrived on the big stage and the realisation of a dream for Tony Carew.
He was to win two further senior Championships in ‘90 and ‘93, when he was joined by brother Tommy and son Trevor. Tony had the pleasure of hurling with three of his four sons in 1994 when Coill Dubh was defeated by Naas in the county final.
Both Tony and Tommy’s intercounty hurling careers coincided with a halcyon period in Kildare hurling history.
Kildare had a marvellous team, backboned by players like Pat Dunney, Johnny Walsh and of course Tony and Tommy Carew. They reached their peak in the mid 1970s, losing to Tipperary in a National League Quarter final in 1975 and just by 4 points to Wexford in the following year’s Leinster senior hurling Championship.
Tony was also a member of the Kildare Intermediate hurling team which defeated Cork in 1969.
Tony was Chairman of the Development Committee when the new field was acquired and formally named Prendergast Park in 1986.
A new generation of underage talent was discovered and nurtured by Tony and Richie Hayden. Success followed, including underage championships and two Feile titles. The U14s were beaten in the 1991 All Ireland Feile Final by the minimum margin.
Winning the Kilmacud U16 Sevens was the proof of the exceptional ability of this group of players. Victory was achieved by beating teams such as Meelick-Eyrecourt, Ballyboden St. Enda’s and Kilcormac-Killoughey. Many of this panel went on to win multiple titles with Coill Dubh and Kildare. Tony continued to be involved with these players throughout their careers.
Tony was also an able footballer, having the distinction of playing in a Senior Colleges final with Belcamp College in 1965. The team included players of the calibre of brother Tommy, Ollie Kilmurray and legendary Kilkenny hurler Frank Cummins.
Rumour has it that the Carew Bros. introduced Frank to hurling. Belcamp lost by a single point to St.Columba’s of Derry.
Tony won Kildare Senior Football Championships with Clane in 1967, 1975 and 1980. He was also understudy to the great Ollie Crinnigan for a number of years.
He mixed his playing and refereeing duties and continued to be respected.
He was an exemplary sportsman who competed earnestly, but always within the proper spirit. He was a dignified winner and a gracious loser. Tony was also an avid golfer and racing enthusiast and he loved his time in front of the TV following various sporting events in the company of his family.
Tony was a very well regarded and loyal employee and had only recently retired following 44 years of dedicated service to New Ireland Assurance.
Tony was first and foremost a dedicated and loving family man, who was happiest in the company of his family. He took great interest in the sporting interests and achievements of his immediate and extended families. He gave them great support. He adored his ten grandchildren and that was certainly reciprocated.
Tony will be greatly missed by all who knew him, however the loss to Mary, Trevor, Niall, Tom, Antóin his brothers Seamus, Tommy and PJ, his sisters Phyllis and Marie, his daughters in law Georgina, Michelle, Michelle, Aisling and all of his grandchildren is immeasurable.
The popularity and respect for Tony was reflected in the vast numbers that called to the house to pay their respects, many of them colleagues and opponents on the sporting fields.
The attendance at the Removal and Burial was a wonderful source of consolation to the family and a testament to the level of respect that Tony and his family are held in.
Ar Dheis De Go Raibh a Ainm Dhilis.