Kelly looks to right a wrong for St Galls
The name Sean Kelly has become synonymous with the St Gall’s success story.
Sean Kelly, senior, has worked tirelessly for years with various under age sides in the club.
In many respects he’s one of the unsung heroes, a man who devoted countless hours to both coaching and promoting the sport.
His son Sean Kelly, a central figure in the St Gall’s push for All Ireland club glory this afternoon in Croke Park, is quick to acknowledge his father’s contribution.
“He was a massive influence when I was growing up, always sure I was taken to training every Saturday morning,” he said.
“He never misses an Antrim or St Gall’s match.
“He doesn’t say much, but it’s always reassuring to have him there.”
The younger Kelly readily admits he still gets nervous before big games, but he’s able to channel that in a positive manner.
The St Gall’s squad is only marginally different from 2006 when they lost the All Ireland decider by a point.
It was a cruel blow but even in his darkest hour Kelly never contemplated hanging up the boots.
“It was never an option. When I looked around the changing room I soon realised there were sufficient good players to make it back to Croke Park again.
“Losing four years ago was a traumatic experience, but if anything it only made us more determined than ever to get back again,” he said.
Standing between the Belfast men and a first All Ireland is unfashionable and unsung Kilmurray Ibricken.
But there’s little danger of Kelly and his colleagues taking them for granted. Instead there’s a quiet acceptance within the squad that they must step up on their semi-final display against Corofin.
On that occasion they needed extra-time before sealing a final place and only for CJ McGourty’s scoring heroics who’s to say what might have happened.
Mark McCrory and Sean Burns continue to be huge influences, the former coming off the bench in extra time in the semi-final.
Kelly was quick to praise the contribution of both men, and his own efforts this afternoon will again have a massive bearing on the outcome.