Meath 1954 All-Ireland Champions - Back, from left, P Brady, E Durnin, R Mee, J Farrell, B Smyth, K McConnell, M Grace, P Connell, Tom Moriarty, B Flanagan, F Byrne, G Smith, P O’Brien. Front, P Ratty, J Reilly, K Lenehan, T O’Brien, M McDonnell, P McDermott, P Meegan, P McGearty, W Rattigan, L O’Brien, J Clarke, M O’Brien, with the famous ‘Twinny Byrne’ between Smith and O’Brien at the back. Photo courtsey Sean Wall

Goal-scorer in All-Ireland victory over Kerry of 1954

OBITUARY: Tom Moriarty

TOM Moriarty

Kilcloon and Wexford

A few days before the game, Paul Russell, holder of six All-Ireland medals, told this writer that if Meath won, the player who would beat Kerry would be Tom Moriarty. That was shrewd judgement, for it was the full forward who exploited a storming role so effectively that he often had the Kerry back line at sixes and sevens. Not only did Tom blot out (Ned) Roche; his speed and thrust played havoc with the Kerry half-back line.

Here undoubtedly is Meath's most promising full-forwards since the halcyon days of Bill Halpenny. Moriarty's pulling down of high balls was superb, his mobility striking, his dash tremendous. His goal was a classic of its kind in the sense that he was well away from the goal area when he participated in the attack, yet he had the speed and judgement to be in the square to finish to the net.

We notice that it has been stated that the fundamental reason why Kerry lost was that they were not playing in their own colours. It is a pity that the mind that produced such a puerile whine as that didn't know that Meath's full-forward was a Kerry man,. What an alibi he would have drawn from that!”

The words of the Meath Chronicle reporter following Meath's win over Kerry in the 1954 All-Ireland senior football final – in which two Tom Moriartys played on the opposing sides, both from the same Castlegregory area of Kerry.

Thursday 12th January saw the passing in Wexford of Meath's Tom Moriarty, who in 1943 arrived with his family from Acoshla, Castlegregory, to Kilgraigue, Kilcloon. He was aged 90.

He was also the holder of a Leinster medal in 1954, and an Oireachtas and Railway Cup medal of 1955. He was brought into the Kilcloon club, a junior club at the time, by local man and prominent county board official, Jack Fitzgerald, and scored 1-3 in that All-Ireland final of 1954, which Meath won by 1-13 to 1-7, dethroning the All Ireland champions.

Tom Moriarty attended O'Connells Schools in Dublin,and won a scholarship to study in University College, Dublin. Around 1956, he contracted tuberculosis which back then was a scourge of the country and he spent 18 months in Peamount Hospital, and couldn’t finish his studies in UCD.

He secured a job with the Dublin District Milk Board, based in the Enniscorthy branch, and subsequently played football with the Starlights and the Wexford senior football team, and then went on to play senior football with his native Kerry, scoring two goals in a Munster junior final against Cork despite the health obstacles that the TB caused to him before he retired completely.

After retiring from football he enjoyed many sports - badminton, training greyhounds, and had a passion for horse racing.

Tom was lucky enough to have a car provided with his job which enabled him and his friends to travel to Dublin to the dancehalls of the 1950s, where he met his wife, Margaret Quigley, in the Metropole in 1958 and they subsequently married and set up home in Motabeg, Co Wexford, where they spent the next 62 happy years together. A work of passion for the couple in their early years together was creating a beautiful and colourful garden that in particular in latter years brought them both great joy when relaxing overlooking their labour of love with the Slaney river in the background. Tom retired 35 years ago. He passed on his love of education to his family and maintained a curiosity and interest in all of their academic endeavours. He passed on his love of current affairs and politics and got great satisfaction from encouraging stimulating discussions about current affairs and philosophy with his children and grandchildren.

Tom's mantra for life was “you wont go far wrong in life if you have a bit of work, a bit of sport and a bit of religion - but you need all three” and he lived by that himself, his funeral heard.

He is remembered as a great husband, father, brother, son and grandfather, and as a caring and kind friend and confidant to so many.

Predeceased by his brother, Fr John; and sisters, Maureen and Nora, Tom is survived by his wife, Margaret; family, Emer, Niamh, Declan and Elva; sister, Bridie; grandchildren; extended family, relatives and friends.

A funeral Mass took place in St Senan's Parish Church, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, with burial afterwards in St Mary's Cemetery, Enniscorthy.