We are saddened to hear of the passing of Johnny Bridgeman, a former top senior player, coach and volunteer, and friend of all who had the good fortune to meet him.
The peak of Johnny’s playing career was during the halcyon days of the 1970s when Table Tennis was regularly reported on in the papers and international players were well known by the public, the era of Caffrey and Langan, when tournaments played out across the Ireland every weekend. He fought many battles on a table tennis table and won more than his fair share. As young man, Johnny played in the famous Crofton club on Suffock Street, in the centre of Dublin.
As well as being in the top cadre of players during that period, Johnny was recognised as one of the best tacticians in the game, a skill he used as a coach. In the 1980s, Johnny became the head coach and leader of Baldoyle TT club, a junior club that developed many underage boys and girls who represented their club, province, schools and country. The club enjoyed an equal mix of boys and girls, many of whom still play, including several para players due to the proximity to the hospital in Baldoyle on the Willie Nolan Road. The friendliness and inclusivity of the club was legendary, and this was due to Johnny’s good nature.
In the 1990s Johnny’s interest grew in the Para side of the game and his shrewd tactical insights and motivational skills helped to shape Irish Para teams that travelled abroad and won many victories.
For those who knew Johnny well, they will remember his stories of bygone games and players, and the sing-alongs for which he was famous. For past members of the Baldoyle TT club, they will remember a generous and wise man who freely gave them countless hours and enriched their teenage years.
TTI offers its deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
Reposing in Jennings Funeral Home, Springdale Road, Raheny on Tuesday evening 22nd February from 5pm to 7pm. Removal on Wednesday morning to St Lawernce O’ Toole Church, Baldoyle, arriving for Funeral Mass at 12.30pm followed by Burial in St Fintan’s Cemetery.