Gerry Carew in 1965.

Gerry Carew in 1965.

Much loved and Bohemians legend Gerry Carew was called to a much better place on Thursday last, October 23rd. Gerry exhibited extraordinary loyalty to the famous Waterford club and now that he is at peace he can once again enjoy the company of his friends from Bohemians up in heaven, wonderful men like Ben Wadding and Johnny Rellis.

Gerry served the Red and Blacks for 55 years as a player, administrator and general servant. Only a few weeks ago he was collecting the match entrance fee at Ben Wadding Park, a task he undertook with gusto. He was always on hand to help the club in any possible way. Regular football followers who visit the Poleberry venue will fondly recall their friendly chats with Gerry as they entered the ground. He had a word for everyone.

Needless to say the fortunes of Bohemians were foremost in his mind most of the time but whatever the topic Gerry was your man to discuss just what was happening on any given day or week. He also was something of an expert when it came to the weather, mainly because he always wanted the playing surface of Ben Wadding Park to be in pristine condition.

He had, I think it is fair to say, a somewhat mixed opinion on match officials but his views brought a smile from his listeners because he had the great knack of taking their decisions with a wonderful sense of forbearance.

He was a quiet man in many ways but nevertheless he was irrepressible. The local soccer scene will continue and the great Bohemians club will also continue to go from strength to strength at all levels but sadly Gerry will not be present to see the game and his beloved club continue to grow. Nevertheless those who love the game and especially the Bohemians club members will always be eternally grateful to Gerry for his input into a club he devoted most of his life to.

Top-class player

Michael Wadding, son of the late Ben Wadding, paid a moving tribute to Gerry last weekend. Michael of course has been part and parcel of the Bohemians club since he was a very young boy. “No job was too big or too small for Gerry. He would carry out menial tasks the very same as he would important jobs. Players expect the grass to be cut and to be in top class condition when they turn up for games and Gerry would have been the man who would have spent hours doing that, without making a fuss about it.

“He served the club as a player, a manager and a committee member for the best part of 60 years. He started the schoolboy section of the club in the early ’50s and that area of the club has grown superbly. Gerry was a very good hurler when he was young but the ban was in place back then and he was told to make his mind up what sport he wanted to play, and thankfully from a Bohemians point of view he chose soccer.

“He was a very good player and he played on the 1956 FAI Junior Cup final team and also on the team which played in the Munster Cup final the same year. He was a magnificent passer of the ball and he would hit 50 and 60 yard balls with no difficulty whatsoever from left half-back or any other position.

“He worked with a lot of people at the club for all of those years and he was never afraid to make his views known. He would stand up for himself and not everyone would agree with him but I can honestly say that he never fell out with anyone and that says a lot for the kind of man Gerry was. He never wanted or sought glory and praise. That was the last thing he wanted. He just got on with his work for the club, without complaining and he will be sadly missed by everyone involved with the club.

“There will be a lot of soccer talk in heaven now because Gerry has joined people like Jimmy Cooke, Danny McLoughlin, Johnny Rellis and my father Ben up there,” Michael added. “I extend by sorrow to his loving wife Meave, his sons Conor and Brian and his daughters Crona and Ciera. He may be gone from us but Gerry will never be forgotten by Bohemians people.”

‘Oscar’ winner

As Michael Wadding said, Gerry was a very good player. He was member of the Waterford Oscar Traynor team that won the competition in 1964, the first year the competition was held. Waterford won the Oscar Traynor Cup again the following season – a team which included his great friend, Richie Elliott. The ‘baby’ of that team was John McLoughlin, son of the late Danny McLoughlin. Teddy Madigan, Christ Nolan, Denny Fitzgerald, Dominic Deegan, Jimmy O’Neill, Harry Flynn, Willie Walsh and Mattie Daly were the other players on the Waterford League team that retained the famous trophy.

Gerry won lots of honours of course with Bohemians and he also played with Waterford FC. When Bohemians played in the 1956 FAI Junior Cup Final against Grange United from Dublin he was rated ‘man of the match’ in all three games. The first two games were drawn before the Dublin outfit eventually won the third.

Gerry was the top player once again in the Munster Junior Cup final of 1956 against Wembley from Cork, a game in which he scored. He was capped for Ireland at amateur level and much later on he played on the Grimes team that won their first ever Pubs League title in 1971. Johnny Corcoran, Paddy Kiely, Jim Grant and Teddy O’Regan were some of the other players on that team. Gerry loved his football. He adored his family and everyone loved him.

He was laid to rest in St Otterans Cemetery on Sunday last following Requiem Mass in St Pauls Church. A huge concourse of mourners, many from the soccer community, were present at his removal on Saturday, and at his burial, where the red & black was evident for all to see. May God’s soil rest easily on Gerry and may his gentle soul rest in peace.