In conversation with Paul O’Donovan
“We arrived in Mullingar to stay for the weekend, that was 20 years ago and we are still here,” said Tommy Carr with a smile as he reflected back on a very eventful, busy, colourful and enjoyable sporting career on and off the field.
This week Tommy Carr, now aged 59, and a qualified Strength and Conditioning coach, took time out to talk to Topic about the highs and lows of his sporting career. In the first, of a fascinating two part interview, the former Dublin footballer and manager talks about his youth, his days in the army, playing for Dublin, missing out on winning an All-Ireland medal, and his arrival here in Mullingar where he now lives.
Later Tommy will talk about his managerial career, managing the Westmeath minors, and his thoughts on the Westmeath management and the changes in the GAA.
During his career with the Dubs, Tommy won five Leinster football medals, two National Football League medals, yet it is the fact that he narrowly missed out on winning an All-Ireland medal that haunts him most.
“When I go up to Dublin everyone calls me a culchie, when I come down the country everyone calls me a Dub,” said Tommy who was born in Dublin to parents who were both from Tipperary.
Tommy’s two sisters Rose and Veronica (Ronnie) were both born in Tipperary before the family moved to Dublin, while Tommy, and his brothers Declan and Kieran were all born in Dublin. As Tommy explains he has fond memories of his youth and of his education.
“My parents moved up to Dublin where my dad ran a bull ring in Clondalkin. I remember it well, even though I was only three or four. Then he got a job in Kings Hospital School and that was to play a significant part in my upbringing. My dad was the clerk of works in the school so we ended up living in the school grounds in Palmerstown. It was a Protestant school and I was a Catholic, so I ended up playing hockey, rugby and cricket. It was a boarding school but I was a day pupil even though I lived on the grounds.
I was the only ‘Fenian’ there, as I was called,” said Tommy with a grin, “but I made great friends there and enjoyed my time there”.
“I would play rugby on a Saturday morning but in the afternoons my dad would sneak me down to play GAA with Lucan Sarsfields, so they were my first club. So both myself and my brother Declan played football with Lucan and hurled with Palmerstown.