Tributes pour in for 'incredible' Joe Kelly Senior

By Maurice Garvey

TRIBUTES poured in this week in memory of Ballyfermot United co-founder, ex-Chairman and schoolboy manager Joe Kelly Senior.

Mr Kelly, a great-grandfather and Rossmore Avenue resident, passed away on January 5.

Joe Kelly RIP 

Messages of support on social media described a “legend” both “on and off the field.”

A passionate coach, he was well known for his infamous magic “cabbage water” to help teams win games.

Ballyfermot United released a statement: “We at Ballyfermot United are sorry to hear of the passing of Joe Kelly Senior.

“Joe was a founder member of Ballyfermot United. Joe also managed our schoolboy teams, was chairman of our club and helped shape us into the club you see today. Joe was a legend with Ballyfermot United. Our deepest condolences to Joe's family at this sad time.”

Former Irish professional footballer and Ballyfermot United player Don O’Riordan said Kelly was his first real coach and a “positive influence” on his career.

Mr O’Riordan said: “The contribution this incredible man made to the area was amazing, guiding so many lads how to play football but most importantly the right way and with respect for opponents.

"He was a huge positive influence on me from a young age and during my later professional career in the UK where I played over 500 senior games.

“Fantastic to see his family at St Matthews celebrating his wonderful life and contributions to Ballyfermot. In 1968-69 season under Joe we (Rossmore Celtic) beat Ireland's best team Home Farm in the 13's cup final. Joe brought every player back to Benny Borza's and bought us each a large bottle of minerals and a large bar of Cadbury's whole nut which was incredible for young lads like us from Ballyer to be treated like this.

"This man should be recognised for his contribution to the area. Thanks Joe, you may have left us now but you will never ever be forgotten.”

O’Riordan also recalled pre-match meetings the team had in the Kelly family home with “15 players draping around a Subbuteo pitch to plan tactics.”

A former youth player Kenneth O’Brien said Mr Kelly taught players “respect, discipline and punctuality”, and took them on many trips to the UK to see professional matches.

Phil Dalton said Kelly was a “great character, he always made you believe you were going to win.”

A funeral mass was held for Mr Kelly at St Matthews Church on Wednesday.

A message on RIP.ie said Mr Kelly was a “beloved husband of Emily and loving dad of Pauline, Anthony, Joyce, Joey, Gregory, Raymond, Declan and the late baby Rory.”

“Sadly missed by his loving sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family and friends.”

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