Patrick (‘Paddy’) Kennedy

(25/09/1916 - 19/05/1979)

Paddy Kennedy (1916–1979) was a Gaelic footballer born in Rathduff, Annascaul, Co. Kerry, on September 25, 1916. His parents, Michael Kennedy and Nora Kennedy (née Herlihy), raised him in his native village, where he received his education. Kennedy attended Tralee CBS from 1932 to 1936, achieving significant success in Gaelic football during his school years. He won two Munster senior college titles with the school and secured a minor All-Ireland title with Kerry in 1933, at the age of 16.

Kennedy’s football prowess quickly gained recognition, and in 1936, he made his debut for Kerry’s senior team. This marked the beginning of a remarkable career that spanned over a decade. Kennedy’s contributions to Kerry football were not only on the inter-county stage but also extended to Munster’s Railway Cup side from 1936 to 1946.

Aside from his football commitments, Kennedy pursued various professions. After leaving school, he worked on his father’s farm and briefly served as a clerk with Kerry County Council. In 1940, Kennedy joined An Taca Síochána (auxiliary to the Garda Síochána), later becoming a full-time member in April 1942. During his time in the Garda, Kennedy was stationed in Crumlin from 1940 to 1944, where he continued to excel in both football and his professional duties.

In Crumlin, Kennedy played a pivotal role in the local Gaelic football scene, contributing to the success of the Geraldines team. Alongside fellow Kerryman Joe Keohane, he helped Geraldines secure three consecutive Dublin county titles from 1940 to 1942. Kennedy’s influence extended beyond the football field, as he became an integral part of the community during his time in Crumlin.

Kennedy’s football career was illustrious, marked by numerous accolades and achievements. He secured five All-Ireland medals with Kerry in 1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, and 1946. Additionally, he clinched ten Munster championship medals and two Railway Cup winners’ medals. Kennedy’s leadership abilities were evident when he captained Kerry to victory in the 1946 All-Ireland final against Roscommon.

In 1948, Kennedy retired from the Garda Síochána and pursued a career as a sales representative for a mineral water company. He later managed the Crystal Ballroom in Dublin until the mid-1970s. Kennedy’s impact on Gaelic football extended beyond his playing days, as he continued to be revered as one of the greatest midfielders of his era.

Kennedy’s legacy is commemorated in various ways, including the Paddy Kennedy Memorial Park in his native village of Annascaul. The park serves as the home ground for the Annascaul GAA club, honouring Kennedy’s significant contributions to Kerry football.

Throughout his life, Kennedy remained modest despite his widespread acclaim. He attributed his success to his fellow players and often deflected praise by acknowledging the talents of others, particularly his contemporary, Mick O’Connell. Kennedy’s humility and dedication to his sport endeared him to fans and ensured his lasting legacy in the annals of Gaelic football history.

Person Photo
Connection with area: Famous Kerry GAA footballer who was stationed in the Crumlin Garda Barracks in 1940s.