Tom Holmes RIP
Tom Holmes, who died on Tuesday 19thSeptember 2006, is mourned by all at St Mary’s College RFC. Tom was held in total respect and deep affection at the club and the general rugby world. Although he was ever a patient, gentle, good-humoured man, he had an incisive wit and a prodigious mind and memory, with an unsurpassed penchant for mental organisation. His integrity was absolute, which made him highly regarded in rugby circles and was a valuable asset to the club, for if matters of contention regarding St Marys were to be decided at the Leinster Branch or IRFU and Tom was called in, his word was enough to decide the issue. Many players owe a debt to Tom. Above all he was great company and those who knew him best and travelled to most of the AIL games with him, will testify to that. He would be seen at many a game with Tom Brown, Tim Harrington, Maurice Hogan, Robin Bailey and Louis McMullan, all great club workers who served St Marys wonderfully well. Tom Brown, his inseparable friend of thirty years, referred to him as “A perfect Fellow-Traveller”. They also enjoyed many a post selection meeting chat together, while Tom Brown sipped his Cidona.
He was born in Longford and went to school at Rockwell College where he thrived academically and learned to play rugby. He played on the wing for Rockwell, on the same team as later fellow St Mary’s members and friends, Paul Sheeran and Dudley Shanley. He also represented Rockwell in athletics in the Munster Schools’ Sports and was an accomplished sprinter. He then went upto UCD in the sixties, where he met his wife to be, Ann Slowey, and he qualified in science.
On joining St Marys he played on the wing for a number of years, but it was later when in the early eighties he became Honorary Fixtures and Team Secretary, a position he held to the time of his death, that he really came into his own. It may have been his unrelenting love of rugby and St Marys that made him so good at an unusually difficult job, that requires a superb memory, agreeable nature and unlimited patience, but year after year with undiminished enthusiasm and ability he worked, mainly behind the scenes. Those who had the pleasure to work with him will have myriad stories to exchange relating to his wit and ability, for along time to come. Many have reason to be grateful to him for some little piece of information in his head one ligibility, or number of games played by someone, or such and all of us owe him an unending debt. Some years ago he received the “Unsung Hero” award, from Rynner, at the Captains’ Dinner and it meant more to him than had he been knighted; there is no doubt had he lived longer, higher recognition would have come.
His two great loves of his life were his family and his club and he was true to both to the end. His death has dimmed our star.