Home Sport GAA 97-year-old Laois supporter drops in on training ahead of big game

97-year-old Laois supporter drops in on training ahead of big game

97-year-old Laois supporter Jack Kelly with Mark Timmons and Ross Munnelly ahead of Sunday's Leinster SFC clash against Kildare

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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.

Laois manager Peter Creedon with Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly chatting with Laois captain Stephen Attride ahead of Sunday’s game

“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.

The Laois senior football squad with Jack Kelly at training on Friday night

“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.”

SEE ALSO – Looking back: 14 years since our most memorable win over Kildare

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.