Hill 16 just won't be the same - tributes asuperfan 'Molly Malone' Tony (89) dies
TRIBUTES have been paid to a lifelong Dubs fan, who used to dress up as Molly Malone as he cheered on his favourite team from Hill 16 and Parnell Park, as news of his death was announced yesterday.
Tony Broughan will be remembered by many for his blue wig, navy and sky blue dress and bell, as he brought smiles to the faces of generations of players and fans alike.
The 89-year-old father of eight started his own Molly Malone tribute in 1975, taking over the role from his brother upon his death.
For decades, his arrival on the Hill prompted a rendition of Molly Malone from fellow fans, and he contributed so much to creating the carnival atmosphere at games.
Mr Broughan lived in Cabra and worked for Dublin Corporation before his retirement. He had been attending Dubs games for more than 80 years.
Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Broughan wasn't able to fulfil his vow to take his last breath on Hill 16.
"I always say that I'm going to die on the Hill. It's where I'll be I'll tell you!" he was famously quoted saying.
His friends expressed their condolences in a Twitter post from the Hill 16 Army fan site following the announcement of his death yesterday after a brief illness.
"Very sad news this morning that Tony Broughan, aka Molly Malone, has passed away. A man who brought so much joy to others in his support of his beloved Dubs. The Hill won't be the same without him," it said.
"Sincerest condolences to the Broughan family at this heartbreaking time. RIP Tony," it added.
"Big part of match day, always made me smile when I saw him, May he rest in peace," said Dubs legend Bernard Brogan.
Former Dublin Lord Mayor and north inner city Dublin councillor Christy Burke also offered his condolences, noting how Mr Broughan "really embodied the Dublin GAA".
"Fans loved him and he loved them - the game was his life. We truly have lost a true blue Dub and follower of the GAA."
The Round Towers club in Lusk, north Dublin, called Mr Broughan "a great character. Always took the time to stop and take a photo with everyone. RIP".
Plans are now being made to try to have the Sam Maguire cup brought to Mr Broughan's funeral, the details of which have not been announced.
Some fans posted pictures of their selfies with Mr Broughan, who was classed as a legend of Croke Park and a "true Dub".
The Dublin GAA Fans Facebook page said it was "heartbroken to hear that Tony Broughan aka Molly Malone passed away peacefully in the early hours of this morning".
"Thoughts and prayers are with Tony's children, his grandchildren and all his extended family and friends," it added.
St Anne's GAA club said: "RIP Tony and condolences to the Broughan family from all in St Anne's. The ringing of your bell will be missed on match days."
The local community rallied round him when his trademark captain's bell went missing in 2018 but was returned to him following a social media appeal.
Perhaps one fan says it best: "Rest in peace Tony and keep ringing that bell."