Dubs legend Anton O’Toole was a football giant

By William O'Connor

FOUR-time All-Ireland-winning Dublin footballer, Anton O'Toole has sadly passed away, aged 68 after an illness this morning.

Tributes have been pouring in for the Templeogue Synge Street clubman who played a starring role as part of Kevin Heffernan’s Dublin team of the 1970s and 1980s.

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Anton O'Toole

Anton, or the Blue Panther as he is affectionately known by many supporters, won eight Leinster Senior Football Championship medals - six in-a-row from 1974 to '79 as well as in 1983 and 1984.

In 1983 Anton was one of the main guiding lights that inspired Kevin Heffernan's young team to All-Ireland glory.

After making his footballing debut in 1972 for the boys-in-blue, he started at corner forward in the 1974 All-Ireland decider in which the Dubs overcame Galway.

He was a member of the panel that won the Sam Maguire Cup in 1976, after the Dubs beat Kerry in a cracking final before surpassing Armagh in the 1977 decider.

The GAA community has been paying tribute this Friday to one of the county’s great players.

“Anton O'Toole was a footballing giant and a gentleman both on and off the field of play,” said Dublin County Board secretary John Costello.

“The four-time All-Ireland SFC winner was a role model for generation after generation of Dublin football.

“The Synge Street legend is held in the highest of esteem by the current Dublin management and players, as he has been since he retired from the inter-county game in 1984.

“Anton was a brilliant forward who combined bravery, ball-winning ability, team ethic, style and scoring return to grace the playing fields of the country.

“He initially played for the Dublin juniors, reaching an All-Ireland final in 1971, before making his senior National Football League debut in December 1972 against Longford.

“His Championship debut came in the summer of 1974 against Wexford, scoring two points.

“It was the start of an illustrious senior career that was to see him win four Celtic Crosses, having played in seven finals, as well as being honoured as an All-Star in 1975, 1976 and 1977.

“On behalf of Dublin GAA I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís”.

His club Templeogue Synge Street also paid tribute today.

“On behalf of the Executive and membership of Templeogue Synge Street GAA Club we would like to express our deep sadness at the passing of our clubmate Anton O’Toole.

“Our sorrow however, is also matched by the enormous sense of pride that we feel and the honour that it was to have had him wear our jersey and to call him one of our own.

“He was the Blue Panther: a Hill 16 hero, a Gaelic football legend and a national sporting treasure due to his prolific role in the iconic Dublin teams of the 70s and 80s.

“To us, in Synge Street Past Pupils GFC and later Templeogue Synge Street GFC he was just Anton or maybe ‘Tooler’, but always an inspirational figure who was the living embodiment that actions speak louder than words.

“When Templeogue Synge Street would claim senior club championship status by winning the Dublin intermediate championship in 2008 it was with Anton as manager”.

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