My GAA Life

My GAA Life with Cavan’s Tony Brady

Which teams did you represent?

Cavan, Castlerahan, I was picked for Railway cup but never played.

What was your greatest moment in the GAA?

I have a lot of great moments. I won an Ulster minor in 1974, and I played in the Ulster senior final in 1976 and again in 1978. I scored a goal and two points against Down and still didn’t win the match. I won a senior title with the club. We were St Mary’s as a parish then, in 1976. I scored four points from play in the second half. I was only a cub at the time. I was very happy with myself. But the greatest moment for me was, the one I got the most enjoyment out of was when Castlerahan won the senior championship final and my son Sean went up to collect man of the match. That was a moment that sticks out for me.

What was the most surprising moment in your career?

We would pick up the Irish Press or the Celt, and we would have been picked to play. That was how you got to know that you had been picked. There was no phones. The big surprise for me came when we won the senior championhip in 1976. I had scored four points from play. My wife, well she wasn’t my wife then, but she is now. She came out on the field of play, I said to her ‘are you coming in to Ballyjamesduff tonight?’ She said ‘of course I am’. She never turned up. That was a big surprise. She told me that I must have asked every lass on the field. But she said that she didn’t think it was asking for her at all.

Who was the best player you ever played with?

Forwards often get the recognition of being the best players. I played with some great forwards, and some great goalkeepers and great backs. Gerry Doherty was a great club back. John Dwyer scored 1-12 in some senior championship matches. Right foot and left foot. He played for Cavan too. Pat Tinnelly of Kingscourt was a great defender.

What was the best score you ever saw in a game you were involved in?

I scored a few great ones, like that goal and a point in the Ulster final. I scored off my left foot and I was a right-footed player. Stephen Cluxton’s free off the ground in that All-Ireland final. That sticks out. He had to walk 100 something yards to take it. With the crowd shouting. I thought that was a great score.

Which manager made the biggest impact on you and why?

Seamus Morris was manager of the team in 1974 and it is only now that I realise how good he was. Eamon Curley was manager of Cavan at one stage and I was a selector. He was a great coach.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received about playing?

When I was a minor at 16. Seamus Morris told me, when I was playing corner forward, to come out the field and take the ball, and run towards the goal. That move changed football. That move of running towards the goal as a forward changed football. That’s what all football is now, running towards goal.

What was the best thing about playing in your era?

We had great craic riding bikes to matches. We could really enjoy playing football and working things out. We would often spend time kicking long balls back and forth and trying to catch it. We’d kick the ball from one side of the field to the other. It was great football. I thought we were very skilful. We could kick off the right and the left.

What was the worst thing about playing your era?

The medical side of things. I broke my nose playing for the club. I went to hospital with it. They said my nose was broken. I started to get infections. It started to affect my breathing. The lack of medical attention was a problem. The medical support they have now is better.

When did you know it was time to call it quits?

You never know. For me, I had a hard time with my breathing after breaking my nose. I tried to play, but I couldn’t do it. From I was 26 till I was over 30 I couldn’t play. But I started playing with the over 40s.

What interesting or funny story may readers not know about you or one of your former teammates?

I always wore my heart on my sleeve so there wouldn’t be much that people wouldn’t know about me.

We played a senior championship gam against Ramor. We played in Crosskeys in a replay. Paddy McNamee was a great friend of mine but we hammered each other anytime that we met.

In the game, Paddy started a few arguments, he was getting hard to settle. He came running toward me. I got good contact with him. After I hit him Paddy was finished.

After the game my brother Sean went to the pub, I didn’t go to the pub after games but my brother did.

He met Paddy that evening and Paddy said to him, the only thing wrong with that clatter that he got that evening was that it was him that got it.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW