"You had no other choice but to get down and dirty with these boys" 11 months ago

"You had no other choice but to get down and dirty with these boys"

"If you wanted to go dirty, they'd go dirty with you. If you wanted to hurl, they'd hurl as well."

It's rare that a player is able to master both sides of the game but Henry Shefflin and Eoin Kelly were complete forwards, according to JJ Delaney.

Upon closer inspection, there are plenty more similarities between Kelly and Shefflin. Both are their county's all-time leading scorers and on top of being ferocious competitors, both were educated in St Kieran's College, Kilkenny.

Where they learned school subjects and hurling, according to the Kilkenny lads.

"They'd definitely let you know you got your hurling education in St Kieran's," says Kelly on his GAA Hour Tribute Show.

For 14 years, Eoin Kelly was a stalwart of the blue and gold. Having initially earned his crust as a sub goalkeeper in the Tipperary set-up during Nicky English's tenure, it quickly emerged that the Mullinahone player was a gifted forward. One the county could rely on season after season.

"He had the skill, the attitude, the belief from the start," said English, who paid tribute to one of the county's best players.


As JJ said, what set Kelly apart was his ability to get stuck in until he broke free, when he would punish the opposition with lightning rods into the net or over the crossbar. While the perfect striking and crisp touch came from a mix of dedication and natural ability, Kelly's hard edge was carved out in South Tipperary.

"From a young age, that was how I approached hurling. Maybe it was from where I grew up, in Mullinahone, it's not as if we're blessed with unbelievable hurling talent so when you were going for the ball as a young kid, you probably had to tussle against three or four opponents, win the ball, try and score. Maybe that's what brought that hunger to win possession..."

"When you get to inter-county level, it's a cut throat business, it's the hardest thing to do is to win possession so you'd do anything to win it. You had no other choice but to get down and dirty with these boys"

"Primary possession...that's what I always heard in the Tipperary dressing room and you just thought, this is what you're expected to do. I probably would have enjoyed that aspect of it too. You had to bring aggression because getting primary possession was pure gold..."

"He'll go down as one of the greats," said Diarmuid 'The Rock' O'Sullivan.

Scoring, competing, Eoin Kelly had it all.

Eoin Kelly's Laochra Gael will be broadcast on TG4 this Sunday evening.

You can listen to the Eoin Kelly tribute show here.