Nenagh native Father Alec Reid, who died last week, dubbed ‘the padre of peace’ was a Tipperary minor hurler who won An All-Ireland medal in 1949 when Tipp beat Kilkenny in the decider at Croke Park.
Fr Reid, for whom tributes flowed in this week from political and community leaders, played a major role in the peace process facilitating secret talks between Sinn Fein and the SDLP and, when the IRA eventually decommissioned its weapons in 2005, helped witness the arms being put beyond use, was aged 82 and had been in failing health.
Alec Reid left Tipperary in the August of 1949 to join the Redemptorist Fathers just before our own ‘Culbaire’ John O’Grady lifted the Irish Press Cup for the All-Ireland minor hurling final - the first year the cup was presented. It was Tipperary’s 6th All-Ireland minor title and it came after the Premier County had defeated Clare in the Munster Final, en-route to a 5-6 to 2-4 victory over neighbours Kilkennyin the final. The team contained such players as Jerry Doyle, Jimmy Finn and Michael ‘Blackie’ Keane and the victory set the scene for the seniors to follow against Laois with Pat Stakelum leading the side.
President Michael D Higgins referred to him as a ‘channel for peace’. His funeral Mass takes place Wednesday in Clonard Church, Belfast with burial in Milltown Cemetery.