The death has occurred in Australia of Tom Gerrard, the Navan native who was a member of the Irish cycling team which controversially attempted to take part in the cycling race at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.
He was one of a team of four, which also included Tommy Flanagan from Navan, who were sent by the National Cycling Association at the time to take part – but because the 32 county association was not affiliated to the Olympic Council of Ireland at the time, they were not allowed into the race. The other two cyclist were Paidi Fitzgerald from Kerry and Con Carr from Kildare.
Tom Gerrard was already living in Australia in 1956. Born in Watergate Street in Navan, he lived for 12 years in Skryne before emigrating. His brother, Jackie, played football for Skryne and minor football with Meath and scored a few goals from the full forward position. He also went to Australia. Tommy Flanagan recalled Tom Gerrard as a strong cyclist who had finished second in a Ras Tailteann stage,.
The Irish riders were at the starting line and almost got off with the rest of the group, but the starters didn't allow it, and the police were called. The Irish team left, having made their point. Ronnie Delany won his gold medal at those Olympics in Melbourne in 1956.
Thomas Joseph Gerrard, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday morning of last week, 2nd August, at Wantirna Health Hospital.
His funeral service takes place tomorrow, Thursday, in the Wilson Chapel, Springvale Botanical Cemetery, 600 Princes Highway, Springvale, at 1.15pm, followed by burial in the RW Gillard Lawn. Refreshments afterwards in the Cafe Vita et flores (Clarence Reardon Centre).