Fr. Ray Reidy
Hall of Fame 2012
In the 1955-65 period, when Sarsfields dominated Tipperary hurling and boasted some of the greatest names in the game at club and county level, Ray Reidy stood four square with the best.
But Ray’s hurling story starts some years before then, when in 1951 and 52, he was on the Dean Ryan team with Thurles C.B.S. Playing at corner-back; the team lost the ‘51 final but made amends in ‘52, beating Dungarvan in the final.
Ray played County Minor with Tipperary in 1953, ‘54 and ‘55. Won ‘53, Lost ‘54, and Ray captained the winning side in 1955 Minor All Ireland final. He lined out at centre-back in all three years.
On the local scene in those years, Ray won a Minor Hurling County final with Rahealty in 1953. Not so luck with the Harty in Thurles C.B.S. that year, playing at right half back, they lost to St. Flannans in first round. They lost the Harty final in 1954 with Ray at centreback to old rivals St. Flannans.
The following season, Ray was Captain of Thurles C.B.S.Harty team, which Limerick C.B.S. beat by one point, in the semi-final, at Nenagh. There was much criticism of the amount of ‘added time’ played by referee Philly Ryan, Borrisoleigh. The winning Limerick goal was scored in the fifteenth minute of ‘added time’. The referee had to be escorted off the field, having been surrounded by angry spectators.
In 1955-Ray transferred to Thurles Sarsfields and found himself on the senior club panel that beat Borrisoleigh in the County Final that year. He was also captain of Thurles Sarsfields minors that won county final. As Ray Reidy was now a student for the priesthood, at St. Patrick’s, Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow, he was unavailable for selection in the county-final. In his absence, Jimmy Doyle assumed the captaincy of the team.
1956- Ray was on Tipperary Senior Hurling Panel and on Sarsfields senior Hurling panel and played the early matches in championship.
1957-Ray was on the Tipperary Senior Hurling Panel, and played some games. For Sarsfields, Ray played centre-field in mid Final beside Fr Bobby Harkin and beat Holy cross/Ballycahill.In the county final against Na Piarsaigh. Best for Sarsfields were Michael ‘Blackie’ Keane, Tony Wall and Ray Reidy. Ray, now a student at U.C.C., showed great loyalty to Sarsfields by opting to play with Sarsfields rather than U.C.C., who were also contesting the Cork county final that day.
1958-Ray was on the Tipperary Senior Hurling Panel and played some games. He was a substitute on the All Ireland winning team, captained by Tony Wall. Ray had now won his first All Ireland Senior Hurling Medal. He was one of seven Sarsfields players in that Tipperary squad.
Also that year, playing at right half-back beside Tony Wall and Noel Murphy in Mid Final, they beat Moycarkey 4-8 to 1-8. Ray Reidy, Bobby Harkin and Tony Kelly were unavailable for the county-final, as they had returned to college. It was Thurles Sarsfields 21st county title beating Toomevara in Nenagh, 4-11 to 3-3.
1959-Ray was on the Sarsfields team that won the county final against Kilruane McDonagh in Roscrea, 3-12 to 2-6. The half-back line was Michaell Murphy, Ray Reidyand Noel Murphy. Tony Wall played centrefield with Connie Keane. Sarsfields now had five in a row of mid and county titles. Thurles Crokes had been formed. In Senior Football Crokes lost to Loughmore 1-6 to 1-4, with Ray at right half back.
1960-Ray was on the Tipperary Senior Hurling Panel-played some games. Tipp Lost All Ireland to Wexford. Thurles Sarsfields were going for their sixth title in-a-row, but were comprehensively beaten by a determined Toomevara team, by 3-15 to 2-8. Ray among the subs. History was made as Crokes captured their first county title as they triumphed over Clonmel Commercials, by 1-9 to 0-9. Ray played the early championship games.
1961-In the Mid championship Sarsfields showed no signs of decline as they trounced Holycross/ Ballycahill, by 6-19 to 2-7. Sarsfield‘s success was launched from the half-back line of Ray Reidy and both Noel and Michael Murphy. Thurles Crokes won Mid Final with Ray among the substitutes.
1962-Ray played Senior Football with Crokes. They won the mid final with Ray-centre-forward.
1963- We read on the Tipperary Star: -Fr. Ray Reidy S.P.S. Kiltegan and Mill Road, Thurles, was ordained to the priesthood and went on the missions to Nigeria in September.
Despite his commitment to his priestly studies, which curtailed his availability, Ray’s contribution to that golden era for Sarsfields club was immense. Simply, but aptly described by a contemporary as “a class player” and a stylish wingback, Ray’s reading of the game, and the quality of his striking, were of the highest order. He played with an elegance that was a delight to watch and was widely admired, but when the going got tough he was never found wanting. The Cork Churches Tournaments of that period provided him with the perfect stage to showcase his special talents in epic encounters against the elite of club teams from the great hurling counties.
Had he not answered a higher calling, Ray would undoubtedly have amassed much more honours at both club and county level.
Sarsfields are proud to honour Fr Ray with the Hall of Fame Award. It is a fitting recognition of the standing he enjoys in the club and the esteem in which he is held by our members.
Please stand as we salute Fr. Ray Reidy.