| St Brigids GAA Club
Serving Blanchardstown & Castleknock
Eoin Kennedy a Very Special Player - Read Why!
Eoin Kennedy from the St. Brigids Club in Blanchardstown collected his 4th Vodafone All-Star Award in 7 years at a glittering awards ceremony which was held in the Westbury Hotel Dublin on Wednesday February 20th last.
Eoin was accompanied to the awards by members of his family including his parents ,Eugene & Carmel Kennedy. Also in attendance were representatives from the St. Brigids Club, Tony O'Connor Vice Chairman of the Dublin G.A.A. Board, Officials from the Irish Handball Council Tom Walsh President, Lorcan O'Ruairc Riarthoir Naisiunta and Niamh Egan Promotions Officer. Leinster Handball Officials Tomas O'Briain Provincial Secretary and Richard Willoughby Chairman. Dublin Co. Handball Board members included Kevin McKenna Co. Chairman, Frank Semple Co. Secretary, Pat Ryan Co. Treasurer and Michael McGee P.R.O. and members of the National Media Owen Mc Cann & Aidan Crowley.
Donal Keenan as M.C . welcomed every one to the awards banquet and called on Darina Sexton Vodafone Press Officer to say a few words. Sexton recalled "that Vodafone are now in its eleventh year of sponsorship of the awards. It gave Vodafone great pleasure to honour the outstanding player of the year. Eoin is the leading Irish player and it is remarkable the outstanding career Eoin Kennedy has enjoyed . Kennedy a Lecturer in N.U.I.M it is his 4th award in 7 years confirming his position at the summit of the sport. He has won dozens of Irish titles and is one of the modern greats in Irish Handball. Just last month he played exhibition matches out in Japan." Sexton wished that Kennedy would win even more trophies for his cabinet in the years to come.
"Kennedy a very special player" Tom Walsh
Irish Handball Council President Tom Walsh thanked Vodafone on the latest honour that was being bestowed on Eoin Kennedy. Walsh paid glowing tributes to Kennedy when he said the "Kennedy was the perfect choice following his achievements in 2007 and dedication in all codes of handball 40 x 20, softball, hardball and one-wall.? Kennedy only became the 3rd player in the history of Irish handball to achieve the grand slam of 60 x 30 titles following in the footsteps of John Ryan of Wexford in 1957 and more recently by Meath's Walter O'Connor ten years ago. Eoin had success in the Casey Lawlor Cup when he helped the Irish team to a famous win. Along the way he beat Naty Alvarado one of the greats in U.S. handball. "His achievements mark him out as a very special player, enthused Walsh." Eoin is continuing the proud family tradition as his Dad Eugene has won numerous All-Irelands as has his brother Brian.
Walsh has followed the St. Brigids player's career since winning the All-Ireland U-14 singles in 1993 and reaching dizzy heights wining at national and International level. Eoin is a great ambassador for the sport said Walsh just like his father Eugene who has forged great links in handball abroad. Walsh is looking forward to seeing the Dubliner at the top of Irish handball for many more years to come. Walsh ended his speech by thanking Vodafone for elevating handball to a high point in Irish sporting life.
All-Star Kennedy thanked Vodafone for the presentation and really appreciated the award. Kennedy "thanked his doubles partner graciously when he said he would not have won half the titles were it not for Egin Jensen." The Blanchardstown Club player "thanked all his family and friends, the IHC, Dublin Co. Handball Board and all who helped him out in the past year."
After a sumptuous meal I talked to the Vodafone All-Star and I began asking Eoin Kennedy what it meant to him winning his 4th award in 7 years?
Obviously I am very honoured to get the award. Outside of actually winning titles on the court it is probably the highest individual award you can get in handball or in the G.A.A for that matter.
You had an outstanding 2007 winning the hardball singles and doubles and softball singles and doubles and only the 3rd player in Irish handball history to achieve such a feat. That must give you sense of accomplishment already in your career at just 29 years of age.
Yes it was a great year no doubt about it. It will be hard to replicate it. I have to give a lot of credit to my doubles partner Egin Jensen. I definitely wouldn?t have won the titles without him. He in an integral part, a fantastic player and a good friend.
Next question I asked Kennedy what is his goals for the season ahead?
My goals as always in handball is to try and do what no one else has done to win the 40 x 20, softball and hardball singles in the one year. No one has ever achieved that. That will obviously be a goal it a very difficult one to achieve but you have got to set your goals high and maybe what you end up would be pretty good.
The last question I put to Eoin was just looking a little further ahead to next year an important year in handball with Portland Oregan hosting the World Championships. I am sure you will be looking forward to that and possibly winning the World Open Singles title. What is your thoughts on that?
Yes I am looking forward to the World Championships 2009. Amusingly Eoin good humoured said "you never know it could be my last one , but I have to try and do my best. It is going to be very difficult with the top Irish Players like Paul Brady aiming for the treble of World Open singles titles, Tony Healy along with a number of top and upcoming stars. As well as in America they still have really good players coming through. It is going to be very tough. I suppose having won the doubles last time out in Canada. It would be nice to come back with a title again."
Kennedy as Walsh has stated is something rather special in Irish Handball. He excels in all codes off handball and has represented Ireland at the highest level achieving Irish, Canadian, USA, Basque, Italian and World titles along the way. Having recently returned from Japan where he played exhibition games against top U.S. player Emmett Peixato.
Outstanding successes for Eoin Kennedy
Kennedy won his first All-Ireland at U-14 level winning the singles in the 60 x 30 court in 1993. The following year he represented Ireland in the U.S. Juniors in San Diego and achieved notable success. In 1995, he won the U-16 60 x 30 Singles. Over the following years, he won Minor Singles in 1997, U-21 singles in 1998 and the Intermediate title in 1999. Two years later also proved a great year when Eoin claimed the U.S. Collegiate title and in May of that year won the Canadian singles over twelve times champion the legendary Merv Deckertt in Halifax Nova Scotia by 21-7, 21-7. Eoin has made the step up to Senior ranks effortlessly and already has won 4 Softball singles, 1 40 x 20 singles, 1 40 x 20 doubles, 3softball doubles, 5 hardball singles and 2 hardball doubles and also triumphed in the FBD Nationals finals 3 years in a row. Kennedy comes from a fine handball pedigree. His grandfather Paddy Kennedy (Roscommon) won an All-Ireland junior softball doubles medal in the forties. His father Eugene is also an accomplished handballer having won a number of All-Ireland's and still playing exceptionally well to this day. Kennedy was a member of the Irish team that travelled to the Basque region in 2002 and 2004. Eoin was the captain of the Irish team as they beat the Basque Country and in 2006 teamed up with Mayo?s Dessie Keegan to become the 1st Irish doubles team to win the Italian One-Wall Cup in Nizza Monferrato.
Kennedy a role model for Irish Handball
Kennedy is an excellent role model for Irish Handball has done it all. Every year he pushes himself to achieve even greater goals. His work ethic and love for handball is there for all to see. The St. Brigid?s player has been at the top of Irish handball since he beat the legendary Kilkenny player Michael Ducksy Walsh in 2002 and just last September he claimed his 4th softball singles title in 5 years with an impressive 21-10, 21-6 win over the Kilkenny man. The All-Star who plays to a consistently high standard in every game. Kennedy is one off the great strategists in handball always thinking on his feet using all his talents and years of perfecting his skills to maximum effect. Kennedy who trains anything up to 6 nights a week is a joy to watch where ever he plays. A true professional in a amateur sport as handball the charismatic Dublin player looks set to bring even greater honour to his club, county, country in the years to come.
|St Brigids GAA Disclaimer||Privacy Statement|