A tribute to “The DOC” – Edward Caraher

By Robert Cashell

It is with great that sadness that we learned of the passing of Eddie “Doc” Caraher today. I have known Eddie forever, my first memories are of Copey and I being asked to Eddie’s birthday party when we were around 10. We were the kids from the other side of the tracks – we never did decide which side that was! Eddie was a legend in his own lifetime in his sporting career, a natural born sports man. Many would only be aware of Eddie the Rugby player but rugby was probably only the third or forth sport he tried. Table Tennis was the first sport where he shone through and by the time he was 15 he had won all that was to be one at Underage Table Tennis in that era and had played in the Premier leagues with Tommy Caffrey. Eddie had a ferocious forehand and as he would hit the ball past you and give you that look as if to say “Think you could beat me” and then flick the hair out his eyes. When the Rugby Club was reformed in 1966 we tried our best to get Eddie to play but at that stage he was in his George Best era, while he may not have had the silky skills of George he was no mean soccer player. Just as well there was no formal underage soccer in those days or he may have been lost to the game of rugby.
Eddie took up Rugby while at the De La Salle in Skerries, Skerries had got the school to start playing rugby as a feeder for their teams in 1971. Their first match was against my old school Mountjoy in Holmpatrick in September of that year (I was just a spectator). Mountjoy went on to win the Section A cup that season so were a reasonable team. Eddie of course was in the No10 jersey, where else, and my only real memory of the game was that when he took the first 22 drop out be just booted the ball and had to be shown by the ref what a drop kick was, he picked up the rest of the game fairly quickly after that and was moved to the back row where he found his niche. He went on from that school’s team to play with a very successful Harry Gale team in Skerries, which if memory serves correctly got to at least the semis of the competition. He went on to have a very successful career in Skerries winning a Towns Cup medal before going on to play Senior Rugby when Skerries gained Senior status. There were no leagues in those days which meant that Skerries got to play against all the senior Leinster Clubs and Eddie got to test himself against the likes of Fergus Slattery and many other internationals. In the 1979-80 season Ed returned to Balbriggan and was instrumental in leading the team to victory in the Anderson Cup. The adult section had only being going a couple of years and Eddie brought that expertise to us and tightened up the game to make us a force at that level. He also brought in Paddy O’Shea to coach the team in the final weeks before the Cup. As it happened it was Skerries who we played in that final so there was a lot at stake. Bragging rights remained with the elder Club!
The next year Eddie brought Johnny Casey in as coach and that has led to many of Johnny’s family donning the Balbriggan jersey and being great contributors to the team over the years. Eddie was to become a rock in the Balbriggan pack for at least the next decade. I am sure will have their stories of playing with him over the years, I will just mention one. Sometime in the mid 80’s we were playing Ardee in a McGee match and it was a winner takes all. Ardee has found a few Samoans hanging around in County Louth who added quite a bit of meat to their team. On the day, it looked as if Eddie alone had carried the day for Balbriggan as he led the team forward by example in one of the most ferocious games any of us ever witnessed. That was the man, never give up. While it was great to have played with Ed, many learned a lot about discipline from him, Ed would never desert his team mates but if he thought we had created the fracas wo betide that person when Ed got them back in the dressing room. There would be a very public dressing down and if he ever saw that behaviour on the pitch again they were on their own. He was a strict disciplinarian – the Ref was always Sir! Eddie along with his mate, The Major, were the engine of a Balbriggan pack for a long time, only issue was that if they were travelling with you, they always took their time showering last!

After Balbriggan Doc played a few years veteran’s rugby with Clontarf before eventually hanging up his boots.

The one sport he kept going with was Golf, a single figure handicapper for most of his life, he had a swing that most people would die for. I am sure that there are plenty of golfing stories but I will leave those to his golfing partners, Bill, Niall and Gerry. He only gave up gold when he could no longer swing the Club. He did however keep up swimming and it is only a few weeks since his last swim over at the |Springer’s in Skerries.

Ed was always the best of company but when you knew everyone and everything sure there was nothing he couldn’t expound on. Many the interesting hour was spent in his company. At all times a total Gentleman.

Ed has fought his illness for over eight years in his own indomitable spirit of never give up. As his late Brother in law Pat would often say “Fight the Good Fight – finish the Race” Eddie certainly did that in his own style.

To wife Margaret, Daughter Lisa, Son Stephen, grandchildren Brother Michael, Sisters Rosemary, Catherine, Marie Therese and Anne our deepest sympathies on your loss. Eddie was a larger than life character who we all shall miss. May he Rest in Peace.


Facebook Twitter Email
Astro Hire
Astro Hire
find us on facebook
follow us on twitter