Alistair Tidey, who passed away on May 16, was an outstanding Lansdowne Mini Rugby player.
He played a key role in winning Lansdowne’s first trophy at Mini/Youth level – the Metro Cup in 2011, under Mark MacMahon and Ciaran Lynch.
Alistair also played in teams coached by Conor Smith and Paul McCabe. As well as being a silky footballer, he was, in Conor’s words, the most courageous player he ever saw.
Alistair’s mother Ingrid was Mini and Youth Registration Secretary, while his late father Andrew was a staunch Lansdowne supporter.
Alistair excelled academically, studying MSIS in TCD, and was a fine all-round sportsman, playing soccer for Park Celtic in Cabinteely and representing the First XI at hockey in Trinity.
No words can describe Alistair better than Ciaran Lynch’s account of the Metro Cup final in 2011:
“Having beaten Blackrock and Old Belvedere, the latter in a closely-contested semi-final on the back pitch in Lansdowne Road, the final was against Suttonians, who hadn’t been beaten all year. We learned that Suttonians had published their victory announcement and thank-you speech ahead of the game, so come match day we were well psyched for the contest.
So much so we surprised Suttonians and went into half-time ten points up. The second half was extremely tense. We did not score and Suttonians went over the line for an unconverted try. With just a few minutes remaining, Suttonians broke away through their talisman stong-arm, who had a clear run to the line but for one last remaining defender, the smallest player on the pitch, Alistair Tidey.
The tackle had to be made. If Suttonians scored, it would be under the posts and they would take the lead. Alistair made the tackle by putting himself between the barreling big man and the line. It was ugly; Alistair was smashed into the turf, but he put the brakes on the attacker long enough for help to arrive. There was a turnover, Suttonians did not score and we went on to win.
It was extremely brave of Alistair, but he knew and accepted he had only one choice. All eyes were upon him. he stood his ground, made the tackle and was hurt in the process.
I ran out and helped him back to his feet. “You did it” I said to him. “You did it Alistair, you stopped him”. He was kind of bewildered, trying to catch his breath, measure how hurt he was.
It was a heroic moment, more than just the difference between winning and losing, more than the difference between getting hurt or not getting hurt. It was choosing to represent your team, choosing to fight an overwhelming opposing force on behalf of the group.
A moment of truth, and he took it.”
Alistair epitomised everything that is good in rugby, in sport and in Lansdowne.
May he rest in peace.