The late Larry Keane - Cúlbáire's tribute

A tribute to the late Larry Keane 

The late Larry Keane - Cúlbáire's tribute

The death was announced this week of former Tipperary and Thurles Sarsfield's great Larry Keane, Kennedy Park, Thurles.

Here, 'Cúlbáire' pays tribute to the late legend.

“The passing of Larry Keane recalls warm memories of him - and gratitude for substantial favours done at minor and senior levels. We - the Tipp minors of 1949 - were on the verge of elimination by Clare till Larry came to the rescue with a late goal at the City end of the “Athletics Grounds”.

Nine years later, he beat my one-time team mate Mick Cashman for a goal that turned the 1958 senior semi-final Tipperary's way, sending us on to provincial and All-Ireland successes.

“Quid pro tanto retribuam?” At the very least this regretful tribute.

Con Keane, senior, had the rare distinction of being on both the hurling and football squads for the 1929 Railway Cups. A good deal of his career was involved with the Army, while Tipp and others in Munster were being dominated by a great Limerick, Ahane and Mackey led formation. He kept on playing, or at least came back to play, with Thurles Kickhams - when in his mid 40's - thirty years older than a schoolboy in the Moycarkey Borris goals in 1946.

The Keane genes were bound to produce talented offspring. Con's did, in triplicate. At one end of the field, the youngest, Michael (“Blackie”). At half back, the trim and tidy Connie, further down and mostly at half forward, the unhurried craft of Larry.

No sprinter he, but a shrewd judge of where to be and how to deliver for a score. In his cool and calculated way, he even succeeded better than more aggressive players in his duels with John Doyle. He strongly favoured hitting off his left. He was long-striding rather than of fast pace, and his role was very influential in Sarsfields greatest period. Quiet demeanour lay behind competitive character. He had a fine sense of humour too, as I recall from some of his contributions to our pre-final stay in Barry's Hotel for that '49 Croke Park appearance.

My sympathy to the bereaved and peace to his soul.

John O'Grady.