• Home
  • /
  • GAA
  • /
  • 'I'd Say They Don't Even Know What A Football Is!' - Tipp Star On Picking Gaelic Over Hurling...And Aussie Rules

'I'd Say They Don't Even Know What A Football Is!' - Tipp Star On Picking Gaelic Over Hurling...And Aussie Rules

'I'd Say They Don't Even Know What A Football Is!' - Tipp Star On Picking Gaelic Over Hurling...And Aussie Rules
Gavin Cooney
By Gavin Cooney
Share this article

In Clonmel, you'll find the Kennedy sons who bucked the family tradition.

All early clues pointed to Colman and Jack playing hurling, and not just because they're from Tipp. Their father, John, won All-Ireland hurling medals with the county in 1989 and 1991, and although the pair of Celtic Crosses hanging in his grandmother's house in Clonoulty provide a healthy injection of motivation, the larger ball snaffled the attention of his sons.

I played hurling up to U21. Our club St Mary's have moved on senior now but I won't be playing that to be honest. I'm kind of focusing on the hurling and the football better. Clonmel is football, it's the strongest and soccer as well would be pretty big. St Mary's doing well the last few years now has brought in hurling. I suppose my first love would always have been football. I've really focused on that the last few years.

When we go up to my Nan's house in Clonoulty where he grew up, it's all hurling there, I'd say they don't even know what a football is! My mam is from Holycross which would be another strong hurling area in Tipperary. I suppose it's surprising we're all so interested in football in my family.

He likes to tell a few stories himself about the hurling. We go up and see a couple of his All-Ireland medals in his mam's house. It's nice to see them. He never really put too much pressure on us for hurling, he saw we were more interested in football or soccer and let us away with it.

Colman's love of soccer has seen him go away. He kicked two points off the bench in Tipperary's ambush of Dublin in the 2o11 All-Ireland minor final, but recently strayed across the Atlantic for a soccer scholarship in Philadelphia. Although he has an MBA in the bag and a work visa secured, younger brother Jack hints that Colman may return to kick ball with Clonmel Commercials sooner rather than later. (Where it will presumably be a bit warmer than the conditions Colman encountered in gaining a bit of online notoriety).

Jack, too, had a brief dalliance with sport abroad.

Having made his senior breakthrough last year, Jack attracted the attention of a couple of AFL scouts. Within days of Tipp's championship exit against Armagh, North Melbourne were on the phone.

A week later, Kennedy was sitting beside Armagh prodigy Rian O’Neill on a flight to Australia for a two-week trial. "It was a quick turnaround but it was a brilliant experience. Sport being such a big part of my life, to see the professional side of it and to go training each day, come in and see your meals prepared for you. Yeah, it was incredible. It's a different world out there fitness and things".


Colin O'Riordan, erstwhile of Tipperary and now treading the Sydney Swans' fringes with intent, proved a useful sounding board for advice ahead of the trip.


Although he was in thrall to the experience, Kennedy admits to being irked at how it all played out.

They kept their cards very close to their chest. They said that they’d be in contact in the next couple of weeks, but we didn’t hear anything for a while. It wasn’t until the middle of November that we knew for definite that it wouldn’t happen this year.

So that was difficult that it dragged on, so it was playing in my head for a couple of months. When it came up that it wasn’t happening, I was a small bit disappointed. Things were going well with Tipperary, so I could focus on that.

Tipp's gain. Matching 2016 was always going to be nearly-impossible for Tipp, but last year still left a lingering sense of disappointment. A squad decimated by injuries and absences lost to Cork in Munster and Armagh in the championship, following a successful Division Three campaign.

Righting the wrongs of Championship 2017 is a big target for the months ahead, but first of all, avoiding the fate of John Evans' Tipp side and surviving in Division Two is a priority.


We are really focused on having a very strong pre-season, and we are really working hard at the minute and we are looking forward to the 27th [of January, when they play Cork] and being ready to go on the day.

We know there are some serious teams in Division Two, but we have enough confidence in ourselves not to fear anyone, either. So on our day we can beat anybody, if we are right mentally and physically.

So yeah, the big goal is to stay in Division Two. It’s important to make a good start and see what happens from there.

Cork as the first game in Cork will be difficult. But we beat them two years ago and we could and should have beaten them in the Munster Championship last year.

Tipp are undoubtedly boosted by the return of Stephen O'Brien, following his two-year sabbatical with the hurlers. O'Brien will to a midfield boasting the talents of George Hannigan, Liam Casey and Kennedy himself, with the latter thrilled by O'Brien's return.

Yeah, massive boost. I think that Colin [O'Riordan] and Stephen may have left the same year, and they were both [playing in] midfield so they were a huge loss. And Peter Acheson leaving too was a big loss.

Yeah, getting Stephen back is massive. Obviously he won an All-Ireland with the hurlers. He is a serious, serious player and a serious athlete so I'm looking forward to see how he goes. Hopefully he stays fit, and he’ll be a big plus for the year.

Football in Tipp will always be the lesser relation, in spite of the success of the last few years. The footballers will continue to troop on regardless, however, and Kennedy doesn't feel the need the need to weave performances with proselytising.

You wouldn’t be thinking about that. But you do see the differences in going to a Munster hurling championship game in Semple Stadium when the place is full, and then our own game against Armagh.

It was a decent crowd but it would be nothing like the hype built up for a hurling championship game. We’re not too worried about that, we might have a small fanbase but it is a community, we know everybody.

We’d love for more people to come and support, but we have a great fanbase and they bring us on every game.

Were the AFL to come calling again, Kennedy admits that he would find it hard to say no. But Clonmel does have its own pull. "The chance to be a professional player, and training each day would be an incredible experience so if it did come around, it'd be very hard to turn down. But on the other hand, it'd be very difficult to leave home, leave the family and stuff so if it did come about, it'd be something you'd have to think about".

Jack Kennedy won't collect the same family silver, but he won't be very far from it in 2018.

Jack Kennedy was speaking at the launch of Electric Ireland's sponsorship of the GAA 



Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com