Home Sport GAA REACTION: Jubilant Kelly ready for a tilt at Intermediate

REACTION: Jubilant Kelly ready for a tilt at Intermediate

Noel Garvan and Tom Kelly with the Laois JFC trophy on Saturday evening
Tom Kelly was in some form tonight

St Joseph’s second team will play at Intermediate level next year after defeating Kilcavan in the Junior football final on Saturday night.

And one of the main reasons behind their success was the decision by former All-Star Tom Kelly to come out of retirement.

The 2003 Leinster championship winner had not played for his native club since suffering a serious neck injury in early 2010.

Speaking to LaoisToday after the final whistle, Kelly revealed that it was his son, pictured in his arms above, who convinced him to put on the boots again.

He said: “2009 was the last time I played in O’Moore Park and I honestly never thought I’d be back here again.

“I was with the seniors last year and I pulled away. But my young lad was on to me to go down and I said I’d go down to train.

“Miley Dempsey asked me if I’d play a bit of junior seeing as I was down training and that’s how it all came about really.”

Despite being away from the game for so long, Kelly, who is now 37, is in incredible physical condition.

He kicked 1-3 in Saturday evening’s final and scored well all throughout a campaign where St Joseph’s were a good bit better than everyone else.

He said: “Over the years I would have done a lot of cycling and that would have kept me in good shape.”

St Joseph’s defeated Kilcavan as easily as they beat all the other five teams that they played this year.

And Kelly puts that down to the nice blend of youth and experience in the side.

He said: “We scored about 2-14 in every match. We have a couple of 40-year-olds but also a good bunch of young lads coming through.

“They are all brilliant players and this will bring them on. Next year we have Intermediate and we are in that league as well.”

Finally, it seems that Kelly is prepared to play again next year.

He said: “Ah shur never say never, I’ll give it a go anyway and see how we get on.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.