How does one start to pay tribute to a man who has penned an untold number of tributes in his time, be it a presentation at a club reunion, a wedding, a birthday, a retirement or a death. This was the man who could put together the most detailed and related description of the said subject. There is a song around, which includes the lyrics “Words don’t come easy”. Well, in Tommy, we all knew a man who had all the words at all, even if at time you might have to look one or two of them up in the dictionary. We are reminded of the first St. Kevin’s team to face the camera, Harry McCabe, Patsy Bowhan, Larry Tenanty, Pat Feehan, Kevin Powderly, Tommy Flanagan, Paddy Murray, Paddy Henry, Mike Tenanty, Paddy Tenanty, Tom Murray, Jimmy McCabe, Tom Rourke and Nick Mackin.
About each of all these players Tommy could tell a story, which might at times go beyond their footballing achievements. On the earlier games they played it wasn’t so much about the match. Tommy could regale the so-called arrangements that were made, who had a car and how many it could carry, where the other club might have their pitch, would there be a spare pair of boots, and so on and so forth.
A half back on the team that won the second division championship in 1957, Tommy also served as secretary in the years ’54, ’55, and ’56 and repeated the same chore in ’93, ’94, ’95 and ’96. The evidence of detail with which he carried out this function is there to be seen. For a number of years he prepared the pitch for matches, often to be seen was his old “international” close to the gate, or even out on the field itself, when the juvenile goalposts had to be shifted.
The usual timeframe for this job was around an hour or so, but on many occasions it extended to two and more hours, as the years were rolled back and the good old days were re-lived. When the ladies camogie team came on stream, Tommy was there to lend a helping hand and that is still fondly appreciated by the ladies.
It was during these years that Tommy was awarded “Club Man of the Year”. He also felt very proud on the case of the 50th reunion night, when he was presented with his momento by Padraig Faulkner. In 1996-97 it was mooted that the history of the club should be recorded in book form, it was widely accepted that the no.1 man would be Tommy. Like a duck to water, he relished the task. The rest of the contributors were there to see that the remainder of the book, didn’t run into thousands of pages. One would have to be there to appreciate the detail of the recall off those early days. of the club, and years prior to the formation of St. Kevin’s.