It’s with sadness we must report the passing of one of the legends and true gentlemen of Irish greyhound sport, Hall of Fame trainer Tony Fahy.

In a career that spanned over sixty years, Tony trained many stars, drove hundreds of thousands of miles and built a reputation as one of the best to ever hold a lead.

Those that knew Tony will tell you that he was a quiet, unassuming man but for a few weeks in 1976, the eyes of the greyhound racing world were on him as his greatest servant, Peruvian Style, bid to record a twenty first win in a row. Had he done so it would have been a European record.

Sadly, he was denied a twenty first victory meaning he had to share the record with Westpark Mustard. That was to be his final ever start.

Peruvian Style didn’t actually start his career with Fahy. Instead, he purchased him for Con Hynes after his elimination from the Puppy Derby the previous year. It had been the early speed of Peruvian Style that caught the eye of Tony and, needless to say, it was one of the best decisions he ever made.

In the subsequent months, through his unbeaten sequence he landed many valuable prizes, including the Tipperary Cup at Thurles, the Waterford Glass at Waterford, the Shelbourne Leger and Callanan Cup at Harold’s Cross. Along the way he also broke a number if track records, establishing himself as one of the greatest greyhounds to ever race, all under the watchful eye of his expert handler.

But he certainly wasn’t the only star Tony trained through his long career. More recently Velvet Rocket was amongst the best early paced greyhounds to grace Shelbourne Park. He emerged a brilliant winner of the 1994 Champion Stakes and went on to win the Consolation Derby.

Of course, Fahy trained many more stars through the years including Portumna Wonder, Splendid Silver, Loum Lord, Miss Leader, Leaders Best, Resilient Rebel amongst others but Peruvian Style and Velvet Rocket were the two he will be best remembered for.

Tony’s love for the sport was there for all to see. He began his working life with the ESB, working as a lineman. It was during this time that his love for the greyhound took over. While he would work a long day, he would always find time to bring his dogs to the many tracks around the country, becoming a regular at Galway, Longford, Mullingar, Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross and even Celtic Park.

He retired from the ESB in 1974 and took up training full time. Of course, Peruvian Style came soon after. There’s a famous expression used in the sport, “have dog, will travel”. In the case of Tony, the phrase couldn’t have been any more fitting. He was famed for the amount of driving he would do in the year and he saw the results, training a huge number of winners.

And with all the travel, it was no surprise that virtually everyone in the sport knew Tony and not one would have a bad word to say about the man who hailed from Portumna co. Galway. They certainly don’t make them like Tony any more.

While he never married, he was always in great company. His brother Michael worked by his side for many years, while his nephew Tony Jnr, who is now stipendiary steward, and sister Geraldine grew up at his side.

In recent months, Galway track celebrated 90 years. While Tony’s health wasn’t great, he agreed to sit for an interview to Galway’s own George McDonagh. Those present witnessed Tony come in the door looking a little shook but over the space of the hour he really came to life.

Chatting about the olden times, his own time in the sport and his local track, it was clear he loved greyhound racing, Galway track and adored the people in the sport. In return, the sport loved him back. As stated in the opening paragraph, Tony was one of life’s gentlemen. He didn’t say an awful lot but when he spoke you listened and he leaves behind him a huge number of friends.

After his incredible career in greyhound racing, Tony was deservingly inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. The following was how it was reported in the Irish Greyhound Review:

“You can judge the popularity of a man by the reception he receives when he's called upon to accept an award. The response to Tony Fahy was quite electric as he stepped forward to accept the Hall Of Fame Award at the Keadeen Hotel.

Born in August 1936, Tony grew up by the banks of the Shannon in Portumna in County Galway. He was always involved with greyhounds as his father Michael kept a few. In 1956, at 20 years of age, Tony started training his own dogs. His first was Redwood Mac who won a lot of sprints and then followed the likes of Portumna Bouncer, Portumna Wonder and Portumna Lady who between them broke sprint records at Longford, Shelbourne and Celtic Park.

As his successes on the track increased, he retired from the ESB in 1974 and became a full-time trainer. It coincided with local businessman Con Hynes coming on board and it was to cast the name of Tony Fahy into the forefront of the greyhound world.

The night that changed his life saw him at Harold's Cross for the Puppy Derby and there he saw a dog called Peruvian Style in action.

As Tony recalls, "He was showing blistering early pace but he got eliminated in the semi finals and I bought him from Ray Monaghan for Con Hynes".

It was the start of a fairytale. Peruvian Style was to become one of the great legends of the track. Between September 1975 and November 1976, he took on the best and beat them every time, equaling Westpark Mustard's European record of 20 successes in a row.

Thirty years on, Fahy continues to be one of the most successful trainers in the country and he has enjoyed great successes with the likes of Splendid Silver, Velvet Rocket, Pass Machine, Concorde Swift, Concorde Direct, etc, etc.

Over the years he has probably driven more than 2 million miles with his greyhounds - and he doesn't regret a moment of it. He has made great friends and can truly be described as one of nature's true gentlemen.”

It’s impossible to disagree with anything said of Tony. A legend of the sport and the loveliest man you could meet. All of us in the sport will miss him terribly.

We would like to take this opportunity to send on our sincerest condolences to sisters Tildy and Geraldine, nephew Tony, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, his extended family, neighbours and many friends.

May He Rest In Peace

Funeral Details

Tony passed peacefully from this life on Thursday, December 1st, in the care of and surrounded by his loving family.

Predeceased by his sisters Eileen and Bridie, brothers Seân and Micheál, he will be sadly missed by his sisters Tildy and Geraldine (Tuohy), nephew Tony, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, great-grand-nieces, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, extended family, relatives, neighbours and friends.

May His Gentle Soul Rest in Peace

Tony will repose in Dignity Funeral Care, Funeral Home on the grounds of Portumna Retirement Village, on Friday 2nd of December from 5pm with removal at 7pm to St. Brigid's Church Portumna.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated for the repose of Tony's soul on Saturday 3rd of December at 12noon.

The Mass will be live streamed for those who would like to have attended, but are unable on the following link:

The funeral cortége will continue to Calvary Cemetery after Mass where Tony will be laid to rest in the family grave.

Family and friends are invited to leave messages of sympathy for the family on the condolence link here:

Family flowers only by request, donations, if desired, to the Irish Kidney Association. Donate to Irish Kidney Association And Unit 7, Merlin Park Hospital, Galway.

George McDonagh chatting to Tony Fahy to mark Galway’s 90th celebrations