Waterford will win – his last prediction

Unexpected death of Larry Fanning. The last photograph taken on Wednesday afternoon.  Photo: Eoin Murphy

Unexpected death of Larry Fanning. The last photograph taken on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Eoin Murphy

The death occurred unexpectedly yesterday (Thursday) of Mr. Larry Fanning (86) Marian Park, Waterford.  Larry was one of just three survivors from the victorious Waterford All Ireland senior hurling team of 1948. From the original panel of 25 players, only Andy Fleming of Ferrybank and Johnny O’Connor of Dungarvan now remain.

His death has sent shock-waves through GAA circles and he is also mourned in the world of Arts and theatre as he was the driving force and champion of the Theatre Royal for many years.  He is survived by his wife, Jenny; his sons Philip and Niall; his grandchildren; his brother, Pat, a former President of the GAA; his sister Kitty; daughters-in-law, Breda and Marina; relatives and friends.

While his death would be cause for great sadness at any time, it is somehow more poignant that he passed away just as Waterford had played their way back into an All Ireland senior final after an aching gap of 45 years.

His last interview was with The Munster Express on Wednesday when he complained of mild flu symptoms but was adamant that he would be well enough to be in Croke Park.  His informed opinion and prediction was that Waterford would defy the odds and defeat Kilkenny.  Not that they need any further encouragement but Larry’s words will surely galvanise and inspire further the players who held him in such high regard.

“It will be a wonderful day for Waterford, especially for younger people who never knew the euphoria of 1948 and 1959.  Those were magical days for us. The aftermath of the ’48 victory on The Quay was unbelievable and I honestly believe it is going to happen again.

“The Waterford players are not going to Dublin just for the ride.  I believe they are going to win and I am saying that, not through sentiment, but from realistic assessment of the situation.  The players have the hurling, they are fired up and determined and they have a manager who knows how to pick and change a team and to make vital switches at the right times”, he declared.

Larry told The Munster Express the scramble for tickets was the most furious he had ever seen.  “The sad thing is that there are almost certainly going to be genuine hurling fans who won’t get to Croke Park and those are people who have followed the team in the past.  That is one thing I regret very much but, hopefully, the coverage on radio and television will ease their disappointment and there is already a great atmosphere around the city and county”, said the great Mount Sion man.

Larry Fanning’s remains will be removed from John Thompson’s Funeral Home, Barrack Street, to the Holy Family Church tomorrow (Saturday) at 8pm.. Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 11am on Sunday followed by interment at St. Otteran’s Cemetery, Ballinaneesagh.

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