Kilkenny County Board notes with regret the death of Michael Kelly of Bennettsbridge. Michael was a noted hurler with his club, Bennettsbridge and his county, Kilkenny.
Michael Kelly played his club hurling with his local Bennettsbridge club and enjoyed much success. He helped ‘the bridge’ to the county junior championship in 1948 and 1951 before the club moved up to the senior grade. Michael Kelly later added seven county senior championship titles to his collection in 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1960, 1962,
Michael Kelly first came to prominence on the inter-county scene with Kilkenny in 1953. That year he won his first Leinster title following a victory over Wexford. The subsequent All-Ireland semi-final pitted Kilkenny against Galway. In a close and exciting game the men from the West secured a one point victory by 3-5 to 1-10.
Four years later in 1957 MichaelKelly was appointed captain of the Kilkenny senior team.That year he collected his second Leinster title following a victory over All-Ireland champions Wexford. This allowed Michael Kelly’s side to advance directly to the championship decider where Waterford provided the opposition. In a high-scoring game between these two neighbours, Waterford took a six point lead with fifteen minutes left in the game. Then Kilkenny fought back with goals by Mick Kenny and Billy Dwyer.Michael Kelly played a captain’s role by scoring the winning point for Kilkenny. A 4-10 to 3-12 victory gave Michael Kelly a coveted All-Ireland medal and the honour of collecting the Liam McCarthy Cup.
Two years later in 1959 Michael Kelly came on as a substitute to collect his third Leinster winners’ medal. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Kilkenny and Waterford do battle once again. The game ended in a draw, forcing both sides to return to Croke Park four weeks later for a replay.Michael Kelly, who played no part in the drawn game, came on as a substitute once again. On that occasion Waterford secured their second All-Ireland title.
In 1960 Michael Kelly was appointed Kilkenny captain once again. That year, however, his side was defeated by arch-rivals Wexford in the Leinster final. Kelly retired from inter-county hurling shortly afterwards.
Michael Kelly also lined out with Leinster in the inter-provincial hurling competition. He first played for his province in 1953 and collected his only Railway Cup medal in 1954.
Kilkenny County Board would like to express its sympathy to his wife, son and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandchildren and extended family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Reposing at Hehir’s Funeral Home from 6pm on Friday with Funeral Prayers at 7pm followed by removal to St. Bennett’s Church, Bennettsbridge. Funeral on Saturday after 11am requiem mass to the adjoining cemetery. Family flowers only please, donations, if desired, to the Carlow/Kilkenny Homecare Team.