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UCC and Tipperary footballer Jack Kennedy pictured at the Electric Ireland First Class Rivals launch.

UCC and Tipperary footballer Jack Kennedy pictured at the Electric Ireland First Class Rivals launch.

Jack Kennedy: 'The big goal is to stay in Division Two'


ByCianO'Connell


IthasbeenadecadesprinkledwithencouragingmomentsforTipperaryfootballateverylevel,but2018carrieshugesignificance.

LiamKearnshassteeredapromisingTipperaryoutfitbackintoDivisionTwooftheAllianzLeagueandJackKennedyiscompletelyawareoftheimportanceofthenextfourmonths.

Backin2010TipperaryreachedthesecondtierofthecompetitionanddespiteearningfivepointsthePremierCountywerestillrelegated.

MaintainingtheirpositioninDivisionTwoiscrucialforthecontinueddevelopmentofthegameinTipperaryaccordingtotheimmenselypromisingKennedy.

“Yeah,that’ssomethingwetalkedaboutinthemeetingatthestartoftheyear,”Kennedyadmits.“Wearereallyfocusedonhavingaverystrongpre-season,andwearereallyworkinghardattheminuteandwearelookingforwardtothe27th(vCork)andbeingreadytogoontheday. 

“WeknowtherearesomeseriousteamsinDivisionTwo,butwehaveenoughconfidenceinourselvesnottofearanyone,either.Soonourdaywecanbeatanybody,ifwearerightmentallyandphysically. 

“Soyeah,thebiggoalistostayinDivisionTwo.It’simportanttomakeagoodstartandseewhathappensfromthere.”

ThereturnofStevenO’Brienprovidesanothersourceofoptimism.“Yeah,massiveboost,”Kennedysays.“IthinkthatColin(O’Riordan)andStephenmayhaveleftthesameyear,andtheywerebothmidfieldsotheywereahugeloss.

“AndPeterAchesonleavingtoowasabigloss.Yeah,gettingStephenbackismassive.ObviouslyhewonanAll-Irelandwiththehurlers.Heisaserious,seriousplayer andaseriousathletesolookingforwardtoseehowhegoes.Hopefullyhestaysfit,andhe’llbeabigplusfortheyear.”

Kennedy’sfather,John,wonAllIrelandSeniorHurlingmedalswithTipperaryin1989and1991,butGaelicFootballwasalwaysJackandolderbrotherColman’spreferredsport.

“I played hurling up to Under 21,” Kennedy remarks. Our club St Mary's have moved on senior now but I won't be playing that to be honest.

“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. 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.”

Tipperary football teams have been prompted by the Kennedy’s in recent years with the successful 2011 minor team Colman was involved with supplying inspiration for Jack.

“I was always obviously interested in football, but them being so successful really inspired the younger groups to get involved and be confident playing with Tipperary,” Kennedy says.

“From a weaker county compared to the big guns like Dublin and Kerry, it sparked a bit of belief. There's seriously talented footballers in the county. To go on to perform you can see the rewards with the senior team over the last few years. He was a big inspiration alright for me when I was 14 or 15.

He's over in America, was on a soccer scholarship and he finished up his MBA over the summer, so he's on a one year work visa.

“Seeing Tipperary do so well and obviously we're going fairly well with Commercials, he seems eager to get back playing at some stage, playing football. I'm not sure what the plan is though.” Tipperary footballing enthusiasts would be thrilled to see two Kennedy’s in the blue and gold.

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