Eoin Kelly (Tipperary hurler)

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For the Waterford hurler, see Eoin Kelly (Waterford hurler).
Eoin Kelly
Personal information
Irish name Eoin Ó Ceallaigh
Sport Hurling
Position Right corner-forward
Born (1982-01-06) 6 January 1982 (age 32)
Mullinahone, County Tipperary, Ireland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Occupation Bank official
Years Club
1999-present Mullinahone
Club Titles
Tipperary titles 1
Years College
Limerick IT
College titles
Fitzgibbon titles 1
Years County Apps (scores)
2000-present Tipperary 57 (21-360)[1]
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 5
All Irelands 2
All Stars 6
* Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 23:20, 16 July 2012.

Eoin Kelly (born 6 January 1982) is an Irish hurler who plays as a right corner-forward for the Tipperary senior team.

Born in Mullinahone, County Tipperary, Kelly first excelled at hurling whilst at school in St. Kieran's College. He arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of fifteen when he first linked up with the Tipperary minor team as a goalkeeper, before later lining out with the under-21 side. He made his senior debut in the 2000 championship. Kelly has gone on to play a key part for Tipperary during an upsurge in the team's fortunes, and has won two All-Ireland medals, five Munster medals and two National Hurling League medals. His brother, Paul Kelly, was also an All-Ireland medallist with Tipperary.

Kelly has represented and captained the Munster inter-provincial team on a number of occasions throughout his career, winning two Inter-provincial medals in 2001 and 2013. At club level he won one championship medal with Mullinahone.

Cited by many of his hurling peers as one of the greatest players of his generation, Kelly has won won six All-Star awards while he also won back-to-back Young Hurler of the Year awards in 2001 and 2002.[2]

Kelly has made 58 championship appearances for Tipperary, more than any other outfield player in the county's history. He is also one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the game, and with 21–362 ranks behind Henry Shefflin and Eddie Keher on the all-time list of championship top scorers.

Playing career[edit]


Kelly plays with his club hurling with his native Mullinahone and has enjoyed some success. In 2002 he lined out in his first county senior championship final with county kingpins Thurles Sarsfield's providing the opposition. Kelly's side led by six points coming into the last quarter, however, Thurles Sarsfield's battled back to secure a 0–14 apiece draw. The replay a week later was a much more conclusive affair. Kelly scored a remarkable 2-7 to give Mullinahone a 2–10 to 1–11 victory and a very first county title. Kelly also picked up the Man of the Match award.[3]

Since 2002 Mullinahone have failed to reach the summit of club hurling in Tipperary.

He also plays football with the club. He won a Tipperary Intermediate Football Championship with them in 2011.

Minor & under-21[edit]

Due to his prowess at hurling Kelly was quickly selected for inter-county duty. Like the legendary hurler Jimmy Doyle, he made his minor debut for Tipperary as a goalkeeper at the age of fifteen. In a progressive move by the selectors Kelly was later moved from the number one position to a more natural place in the full-forward line. He collected a Munster winners' medal in 1997 following a 2–13 to 1–13 defeat of Clare.[4] Kelly's side, however, were later defeated by Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Tipperary failed to retain their provincial crown the following year, however, in 1999 Kelly added a second Munster minor title to his collection as Clare were defeated once again. Tipp progressed to the All-Ireland final where old rivals Galway provided the opposition. A 0–13 to 0–10 score line resulted in defeat for Kelly's side.

In his final year in the minor grade in 2000 Tipperary exited the championship at a very early stage.

By this stage Kelly was also a key fixture on the Tipperary under-21 hurling team. He was still only seventeen years-old when he came on as a substitute against Clare to claim his first Munster winners' medal in that grade in 1999. Tipp were later defeated in the All-Ireland semi-final.

The next three seasons saw Limerick dominate the under-21 series at provincial and All-Ireland level. In 2003 Tipperary made the breakthrough and Kelly secured a second Munster title following a 2-14 to 0-17 defeat of Cork after extra-time. Once again Tipp failed to capitalise on this and were defeated in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final.


By this stage Kelly was already a regular fixture on the Tipperary senior hurling team. He made his debut in the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2000 on a day when he doubled as sub-goalie and sub-forward. Tipp had already been defeated by Cork in the Munster final and were now embarking on the ‘back-door’ route to the All-Ireland final. Galway provided the opposition on that occasion, however, Tipp were defeated on a score line of 1–14 to 0–15. That game marked Kelly out as a star for the future and he has played a key role for Tipp since then.

2001 proved to be one of the best years for Kelly as a hurler. He was a key member of the team when Tipp won the National Hurling League title that year following a 1–19 to 0–17 defeat of old rivals Clare. It was Kelly’s first silverware at senior level. Later that summer Tipp qualified for the Munster final where Limerick provided the opposition. A 2–16 to 1–17 victory gave Kelly his first Munster title.[5] A subsequent draw and replay win over Wexford set up an All-Ireland final showdown with Galway. Mark O'Leary played the game of his life and scored two goals to give Tipperary a reasonably comfortable cushion, just enough to withstand a Galway comeback. Fergal Healy hit the post twice, however, his goal, Galway’s second, cut the deficit to one point with just nine minutes left in the game. Tipp outscored Galway during that period to secure a 2–18 to 2–15 victory, giving Kelly a coveted All-Ireland winners' medal.[6] Tipperary also had the remarkable record of going through both the league and championship without a single defeat. Following the game Kelly was presented with his first All-Star award as well as being named Vodafone Young Hurler of the Year.

In 2002 Tipperary reached their third consecutive Munster final, however, on this occasion they were both provincial and All-Ireland champions. Waterford were the opponents on that day and, in spite of history being against the Deise, they bridged a 39-year gap and clinched their first Munster title since 1963. Tipp, however, still had the chance to defend their All-Ireland title. They defeated Antrim in the All-Ireland quarter-final, however, Kelly’s side were defeated by eventual champions Kilkenny in the penultimate stage of the championship. In spite of surrendering their status as champions, Kelly was presented with a second All-Star award. He also retained the Young Hurler of the Year title.

Tipperary's hurling fortunes went into decline after this. The team exited the provincial championship at an early stage in 2003, however, they still reached the All-Ireland semi-final where they were trounced by Kilkenny. Kelly, however, was later presented with a third All-Star award. In 2004 Tipp crashed out of the Munster championship at an early stage once again and were later defeated by Cork in the qualifiers.

In 2005 Tipp were back and reached the Munster final for the first time since 2002. Cork, the All-Ireland champions, provided the opposition on that occasion; however, it was the Leesiders that emerged victorious by 1–21 to 1–16.[7] Tipp were later eliminated from the championship by old rivals and subsequent All-Ireland finalists Galway.[8] Once again Kelly was included on the All-Star team.

In 2006 Babs Keating returned as manager of the team and Kelly emerged as one of the best and most prolific scorers in the modern game. He scored a remarkable 2-23 in Tipperary's two opening games against Limerick and Waterford.[9][10] His tally of 2–9 in the second game equalled the total scored by the entire Waterford team and landed him a place on the top ten list of all-time scoring greats. These early scoring exploits meant that Tipp qualified for the Munster final once again. Cork travelled to Semple Stadium as All-Ireland champions and, once again, they retained their title by 2–14 to 1–14.[11] Tipp were later knocked out of the championship by Waterford in the All-Ireland quarter-final,[12] however, Kelly went on to collect his fifth All-Star award in six seasons.

In 2007 Kelly endured a frustrating season. A draw in Tipp’s opening game with Limerick resulted in him being dropped from the starting fifteen along with long-time goalkeeper Brendan Cummins. Tipp, still without the services of Kelly, later lost to Wexford in the All-Ireland quarter-final and Babs Keating was replaced by Liam Sheedy as manager for 2008.[13] Kelly and Cummins were welcomed back onto the team with the former being named as vice-captain.[14] Tipp began well by winning the Waterford Crystal League. The men from the Premier County later remained undefeated in the National League before meeting Galway in the final. In an exciting game Tipp emerged victorious by 3-18 to 3-16 and Kelly collected the cup as captain.[15] It was his second National League winners' medal. In the subsequent Munster semi-final against Cork Kelly scored a crucial goal that gave Tipp a 1–19 to 1–13 victory.[16] It was Tipp’s first championship victory over Cork in Cork since 1923. The victory also allowed Tipp to advance to the Munster final where they defeated a resurgent Clare team by 2–21 to 0–19.[17] Kelly raised the Munster cup as captain in the absence of panel captain Paul Ormonde and collected a second Munster title. Tipperary were subsequently defeated in a tense All-Ireland semi-final by Waterford on a scoreline of 1-20 to 1-18.[18]

At the start of 2009 Tipperary were regarded as the main challengers to Kilkenny’s assault on the four-in-a-row of All-Ireland championship titles. Both sides lined out against each other in the final of the National League. Tipperary stormed into a decisive lead as they took the game by the scruff of the; however, ‘the Cats’ clawed their way back into the game. At the end of normal time both sides were level. A period of extra-time followed, however, in spite of a 2–26 to 4–17 defeat, Kelly's side were widely lauded for their performance.[19] The subsequent championship campaign saw Tipp reach the Munster final for a second consecutive year. Kelly's side raced into a decisive lead at the interval, however, the Decies fought back to narrow the deficit and maybe cause an upset. In the end Tipp won the game by 4–14 to 2–16.[20] It was Kelly's third Munster winners’ medal. After a six-week lay-off and a facile semi-final win over Limerick, Tipp qualified for an All-Ireland final meeting with Kilkenny. For much of the match it looked as if Tipperary would pull off a shock and deny 'the Cats' a record-equaling four-in-a-row. Two quick goals in the space of a minute, one from a penalty by Henry Shefflin, sealed a 2–22 to 0–23 victory and defeat for Tipperary.[21]

In 2010 Kelly was named as captain of the team as Tipperary were regarded as being the second best team in the country once again. Their first championship assignment was a clash with Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. While Tipp were the favourites going into the game Cork ambushed Kelly's side with a 3–15 to 0–14 defeat. The qualifiers beckoned and, after victories over Wexford, Offaly, Galway and Waterford, Tipperary reached a second consecutive All-Ireland final. Kilkenny, a team chasing an unprecedented fifth successive championship, but severely weakened by a number of injuries to key players again provided the opposition. Tipperary got off to a great start as Kilkenny's star forward Henry Shefflin had to leave the field after just 13 minutes with an injury. Kelly was largely anonymous in the final and failed to register a score from play but a hat-trick of goals by Lar Corbett and a fourth by Noel McGrath, denied Kilkenny's drive-for-five and secured a 4−17 to 1−18 victory.[22] It was Kelly's second All-Ireland winners' medal while he also had the honour of being the first player from south Tipperary to lift the Liam McCarthy Cup.

In 2011, Tipperary again reached the All-Ireland Final this time against a full-strength Kilkenny side determined to exact revenge. Kelly was held scoreless for his second successive All-Ireland Final by Noel Hickey as Kilkenny exacted revenge for the 2010 defeat and won a decisive victory in the "rubber match" on a scoreline of 2–17 to 1–16.

In 2012, Tipperary easily retained their Munster titles albeit with Eoin Kelly's role diminished largely to that of a substitute.


Kelly has also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial Railway Cup competition. He first played for his province in 2001 as Munster defeated Connacht to take the title. Kelly was a regular in the Munster forward line in 2002, 2003 and 2004; however, his side were defeated on all three occasions. In 2005 Kelly collected his second Railway Cup medal as Munster defeated Leinster in the final. Munster were defeated in the first-round again in 2006, however, Kelly collected a third Railway Cup title in 2007. The final against Connacht was the first hurling game to be played under floodlights at Croke Park.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Mullinahone on the Tipperary-Kilkenny border, Kelly was educated at the local national school and later attended Scoil Ruáin in nearby Killenaule. After completing his Leaving Cert at the famed St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny, he studied engineering at the Limerick Institute of Technology. He currently works as a finance rep for Bank of Ireland.

On 11 February 2011 Kelly married long-term girlfriend Sarah Maher.[23]



St. Kieran's College

Third level[edit]

Limerick Institute of Technology










  1. ^ "Senior Hurling Player Profiles". Tipperary GAA website. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Best Munster team of last 25 years named". Hogan Stand website. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "County final 2002". Mullinahone GAA. 2002-11-11. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  4. ^ "Munster Minor Hurling Final Winning Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  5. ^ "Tipp are All-Ireland SH champions". Munster GAA. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  6. ^ "Tipp are All-Ireland SH champions". www.hoganstand.com. 2001-11-09. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  7. ^ "Cork 49ers reign in Munster". www.hoganstand.com. 2005-06-26. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  8. ^ "Tribe topple Tipp". www.hoganstand.com. 2005-07-31. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  9. ^ "Kelly inspires Tipp to victory". www.hoganstand.com. 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  10. ^ "Tipp book Munster final place". www.hoganstand.com. 2006-06-04. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  11. ^ "Cork dig deep to retain Munster championship". www.hoganstand.com. 2006-06-25. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  12. ^ "Deise gain revenge". www.hoganstand.com. 2006-07-23. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  13. ^ "SHC quarter-final: Wexford hit back". www.hoganstand.com. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  14. ^ "Loughmore nominate Ormond for Tipp captaincy". www.hoganstand.com. 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  15. ^ "NHL: Tipp win Division One crown". www.hoganstand.com. 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  16. ^ "Munster SHC: Tipp record historic Cork win". www.hoganstand.com. 2008-06-08. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  17. ^ "Munster SHC final: Tipp end seven-year wait". www.hoganstand.com. 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  18. ^ "All-Ireland SHC: Waterford shock Tipp to book final spot". www.hoganstand.com. 2008-08-17. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  19. ^ "RTÉ Sport GAA Championship: Kilkenny 2–26 Tipperary 4–17 (AET)". RTÉ Sport. 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  20. ^ "RTÉ Sport: GAA - Tipperary 4-14 Waterford 2-16". RTÉ Sport. 2009-07-12. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  21. ^ "RTÉ Sport: GAA - As it Happened: Kilkenny 2-22 Tipperary 0-23". RTÉ Sport. 2009-09-06. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  22. ^ "RTÉ Sport: Tipperary 4-17 Kilkenny 1-18". RTÉ Sport. 2010-09-05. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  23. ^ "Tipp captain ties knot in Valentine's love match". Irish Independent. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
Preceded by
Noel Hickey
Vodafone Young Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
Setanta Ó hAilpín
Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Gardiner
Munster Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
John Mullane
Preceded by
Benny Dunne
Tipperary Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Conor O'Mahony
Preceded by
Willie Ryan
Tipperary Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Paul Curren
Preceded by
J. J. Delaney
(Waterford IT)
Fitzgibbon Cup Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Kevin Moran
(Waterford IT)
Preceded by
Michael Fennelly
All-Ireland Senior Hurling
winning captain

Succeeded by
Brian Hogan

External links[edit]