Tipperary will be well represented in the White House on St. Patrick’s Day when Eoin Kelly, the county’s hurling captain, will be included in an Irish delegation to meet American President Barack Obama.
The Mullinahone man flew to Washington yesterday, Tuesday, despite suffering a compound fracture to one of his fingers in Sunday’s National League victory over Offaly in Nenagh. Kelly lasted just four minutes, before being replaced by Shane Bourke, but was subsequently cleared to make the trip to the United States.
He was invited to the White House for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations along with Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan in an Irish delegation that will be headed by new Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
In keeping with tradition the Taoiseach marks the occasion by presenting the American President with a bowl of shamrock.
This is the first time that the delegation will include two current GAA players, The invitation comes in recognition of the players’ excellent individual contributions to their counties’ Championship campaigns last year.
Eoin Kelly captained Tipperary to their first All-Ireland success since 2001 while Bernard Brogan was the Footballer Of The Year in Dublin’s resurrected season, which saw them reach the All-Ireland semi-final that they lost to eventual winners Cork by a point.
GAA president Christy Cooney was also invited to attend the White House event but is remaining at home for the President’s Awards today, Wednesday, and the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championship finals at Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day.
Eoin Kelly’s injury, meanwhile, is likely to rule him out of Tipp’s next two National Hurling League games against Cork and Galway, although he could be in line to return in their final group fixture at home to Wexford on April 17th.