An uncle of All-Ireland-winning Tipperary hurlers Paul and Eoin Kelly has been killed in a suspected hit and run incident in Australia.
82 year-old Tom Kelly was found dead on a roadside in Melbourne last week.
Although he had lived in Australia since 1956 he regularly returned home to Mullinahone. His brother James (Jimsy) Kelly is Paul and Eoin’s father.
Tom was born in the parish of Drangan, went to school in Ballydonnell and received his First Communion and Confirmation in Mullinahone. Later he went to live with his uncle in the Killenaule area and played hurling with Killenaule, winning a County Junior medal and three South Tipp Senior championships in the early 1950s.
He also made his name as an athlete with Ballincurry athletic club, winning three All-Ireland cross-country medals.
When he moved to Melbourne, having spent some time in Birmingham in England, he maintained his interest in athletics and achieved national prominence by winning the Korean marathon in 1961. Tom qualified as a PE teacher and became one of the best coaches in Australia, looking after national teams even in his later years.
A life member of both Box Hill and Doncaster Athletics Clubs, he was an integral part of the Victorian athletics community across many decades. His most recent international success story was London Olympian David McNeill, whom he coached as a schoolboy.
In a warm tribute on the Athletics Australia website he was described as “an absolute gentleman” and “a legend of our sport” who had nurtured generations of Victorian, Australian and international athletes. Tom Kelly is survived by his wife Patricia and family.