Tony was the ‘voice of Sunday morning’ to countless generations of Waterford people on his Sunday Morning Melodies show on WLR fm and some of his more famous catchphrases, like ‘get up out of them feathers’ and ‘rattle those pots and pans’ have long-since become a Deise institution. Starting the show with the glorious ‘Morning Has Broken’, Tony woke the region up for over twenty years with classics from some of his own favourite artistes, including Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson and Matt Monroe.
Tony (71), who resided at Mount Sion Crescent, Barrack Street, was a veteran on the local and national entertainment scene and played at music halls all over the country in the 50s and 60s. He began his musical career as a trombonist with the Frankie King Band in the 1950s and went on to play and sing with such well known groups as The Woodchoppers during the showband era. Later, his two-piece act with Bernie Flanagan and with John King in Country Roads entertained on the live circuit for almost 30 years.
Many of his friends on the entertainment scene performed at a gala concert held in his honour at the Tower Hotel two years ago, amongst them the Dixieland Express, Dick Hayes, the Geriatrics Comedy Group featuring Nicky Cummins, Ann McGrath, Paddy Madigan, John Thompson, Michael Farrell and Cha O’Neill. Also present was the then Mayor, Councillor Mary O’Halloran.
Tributes to Tony have flowed in this week. Arts Minister Martin Cullen described him as a ‘great local person and a great local entertainer’, whose ‘passing will mean he’ll be sorely missed’, while Mayor of Waterford John Halligan said his passing was a huge loss to Waterford
Tony’s friend and colleague Eddie Wymberry said Tony was the voice of WLRfm. Fellow Waterford singer Val Doonican paid tribute to his friend saying he was one of a kind as did Brendan Bowyer and Waterford sporting star Alfie Hale said Tony would be deeply missed.