The late Jim Kennedy.
Clonmel man Jim Kennedy, one of the driving forces behind the development of ladies football, has died just one week before he was to be honoured for his contribution to the sport.
Mr Kennedy, Connolly Park, Clonmel, was chosen as the Lifetime Achievement recipient in the prestigious Annerville Awards that honour outstanding sports personalities throughout County Tipperary.
He was due to receive his award at a ceremony in Clonmel next Saturday night, January 20.
He was the first president of the Ladies Football Association.
Jim Kennedy can take the credit as one of those people who were instrumental in the growth and development of Ladies Football, which is now one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.
Following a successful club championship in Tipperary Jim, along with Fr. Ahearne and John O'Donovan, organised what was probably the first ever-game of inter-county Ladies Football, as players were recruited from clubs including St. Luke's and Ardfinnan. The match was played on October 3rd 1971 in Ballypatrick, on the foothills of Slievenamon, when Tipp defeated Waterford.
Jim, a native of Killenaule and a sergeant in the army who had served in The Congo and Cyprus in the 1960s, was elected as president when the Ladies Gaelic Football Association was founded in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, the birthplace of the GAA 90 years previously, on July 18th 1974. He served as president for a three-year term.
By that stage he was living in Clonmel, where he made his home, and was an instructor in the FCA in Cahir.
Also in 1974 Jim was a selector of the Tipperary team that beat Waterford, Cork and Kerry to win the Munster Championship, before going on to defeat Offaly by a point (2-3 to 2-2) in an exciting game in the very first All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship final played in Durrow on October 13th.
Jim was also involved as a selector when Tipp retained their title the following year, beating Galway by 1-4 to no score.
Coincidentally, in the year in which he was seleclted by the Tipperary United Sports Panel, Tipp are also reigning All-Ireland champions, after they beat Tyrone in last year's Intermediate Final in Croke Park.
In his efforts to promote ladies football, Jim was also a member of the Munster Council, and refereed matches.
He died peacefully at his home in the loving care of his family. He was predeceased by his wife Ellen (Lily) and is sadly missed by his loving family, daughters Anne, Elenor, Mary, Martina and Delores, sons-in-law, brother Michael, sister Helen, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Reposing at his residence this Saturday evening from 4 o'clock to 9 o'clock. Removal on Sunday morning to St. Mary's Church, Irishtown, arriving at 11.40 o'clock for requiem Mass at 12 noon. Funeral thereafter ro St. Patrick's Cemetery. House private on Sunday morning, please.