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The Laois football team had a special visitor to training on Friday night when 97-year-old Jack Kelly dropped into O’Moore Park to pass on his best wishes ahead of Sunday’s Leinster SFC quarter-final against Kildare.
Jack, who is from Portnahinch, Mountmellick, will turn 98 later this month and has been a massive Laois supporter all his life.
Jack has lived alone for the last number of years since his wife died and his daughter moved to Australia in the 1980s. He moved into Oakdale Nursing Home in Portarlington six months ago and on Friday evening went with Matt Moore from Oakdale to watch Laois train.
“Jack is the most positive man you could meet and has great stories to tell,” says Matt. “He’s in great health and is as clear as a whistle. He’s a great supporter. He’s obsessed with Laois football and ever since the Longford game his only concern in life is whether ‘Timmons and Attride’ would be fit to play against Kildare.
“The lads couldn’t have been nicer to Jack. He was thrilled to get to chat with a few of the lads including Peter Creedon, Mark Timmons, Stephen Attride, Ross Munnelly and Darren Strong. It made his night.
“Stephen Attride was an absolute gent and as the captain Jack was really honoured to have his photo taken with him.
“Ollie Byrne did all the introductions and I must say each and every one of them can be proud of the manner in which they greeted Jack.
“His grandson David came to Ireland from Australia a few years ago and with other relatives visit Jack very regularly.
“Living so close to the border and having supported the North Port club (now Gracefield) all his life it never weakened his love or interest in the Laois football team.”