herald

Wednesday 19 June 2019

'We'll give him the send-off he deserves' - stars join family in tribute to Dubs legend Anton

Twins Laura and Niamh Leacy holding a photo of their uncle Anton O’Toole. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Twins Laura and Niamh Leacy holding a photo of their uncle Anton O’Toole. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Some of Dublin's most celebrated GAA stars of past and present days came in their droves to pay their respects to football legend Anton O'Toole.

More than 100 mourners gathered at Fanagans Funeral Home in Kimmage yesterday to offer their condolences to his family.

Throughout the day, many of the Dublin legend's former team-mates, such as Sean Doherty, Paddy Reilly and John McCarthy, expressed fond memories of their beloved friend.

Former All-Star David Hickey even flew in from Dubai to spend time celebrating the life of the 68-year-old, who passed away peacefully on Friday.

Comfort

Members of Dublin's current senior team, such as Cian O'Sullivan, Jack McCaffrey, Jonny Cooper and Michael Fitzsimons, were also seen offering comfort to Anton's family.

Anton in action for the Dubs
Anton in action for the Dubs

His sister Nuala Leacy told the Herald that she was "immensely grateful" to everyone who offered their support.

"I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am, especially to Anton's former club mates in Templeogue Synge Street," she said.

"There's 10 years' difference between us, but I always looked up to him because he was such a fantastic brother who would do anything for anyone.

"I'm sure there will be a huge crowd at the funeral service, which just goes to show how so many people held him in such high regard.

"We're going to give him the send-off he deserves and celebrate a life well lived."

Ms Leacy's twin daughters Laura and Niamh (21), from Walkinstown, told the Herald that they have their uncle to thank for their obsession with Gaelic football.

The siblings, who both play on the same team for Synge Street GAA, said they will carry on his name throughout their sporting careers.

"Anton is actually the reason why we decided to take up football," said Niamh.

"He had such an impact on our lives that wherever we went, we were always introduced, not as Niamh or Laura, but as Anton O'Toole's nieces.

"He was always so encouraging and loved watching us play in matches. He gave us so much praise and made sure his passion for the game rubbed off on us."

Laura said they will be playing their next game on Wednesday in honour of their uncle.

"We've won all of our league games so far in division two at senior level and will have Anton in our hearts when we play our next match," she added.

"We both play corner back and have actually been told we look like him when we're on the pitch."

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the funeral this morning at the Church of St Paul of the Cross, Mount Argus.

The GAA legend will then be laid to rest in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

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