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Tommy Daly
1894 - 1936

By Ollie Byrnes

The hurling career of Tommy Daly began in earnest in 1914 when he won an All-Ireland junior medal with the Banner county. More glory was to follow on his move to Dublin to study medicine. He won senior titles with Dublin in 1917, 1920, 1924 and 1927 as well as six Leinster championship medals. With U.C.D. Tommy won six Fitzgibbon cup medals. He was a member of the Collegians side to win three Dublin county championships in a row, 1917 - 1919.

His lone county championship success back home came with his native Tulla in 1933, the year after he was between the posts for Clare as they defeated Cork in the Munster final. Other honours included a Railway cup with Leinster in 1927. Tommy Daly also wore the blue of Munster in the Railway cup series of 1933. The team included Claremen John Joe Doyle, the captain, and Larry Blake.

His return to Clare was brought about when the rule preventing non-residents from playing with their native county was amended in 1928. In 1930 Dr. Daly was practising medicine in London when he signed a non-residents declaration enabling him to play with Clare. The regular goal-keeper at the time was George O'Dea from Newmarket-on Fergus and he was the first man to welcome the great custodian home. He played Munster championship with the Banner county from 1930 to 1933 and was one of a number of Claremen to be honoured in the Tailteann games versus the United States. Others honoured were John Joe Doyle, Tull Considine and possibly Larry Blake. Big Jim Burke of Tulla represented the U.S.A. in 1928 and 1932.

Tommy also distinguished himself as a top class referee before his tragic death in a car accident in Tuamgraney in 1936. His memory was commemorated by the Tulla club with the opening of the Dr. Tommy Daly Park in 1941. Ahane from Limerick and Éire Óg from Kilkenny played the opening game.

In his day Tommy Daly was considered by many to be the greatest goal-keeper of his era, 1917 - 1933. He was replaced on the Clare team by Tommy Keating of Ruan. Bryan MacMahon's "Lament for Tommy Daly" is the essential Clare hurling ballad written in 1936, a song to ensure that a great hurling name lives on today.

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