Thursday 20 June 2019

Team on a roll since GAA mentor took to Segway

Transport: Evan Kelly has a novel way of keeping up with his young charges at Thomastown minor hurlers
Transport: Evan Kelly has a novel way of keeping up with his young charges at Thomastown minor hurlers

John Knox

A Kilkenny team official has found a very different way to help him carry out his sideline duties - by using a Segway.

And it has proved to be very successful, because his team, the Thomastown minor hurlers, have thundered from one success to another, competing the league/championship double with a season run of form that included 12 wins, one defeat and one draw.

Evan Kelly broke his neck, suffering a C6 incomplete spinal cord injury while on a holiday in Fraser Island, Australia in 2007. He was operated on in the Princess Alexandra hospital, Brisbane, before returning to Ireland where he spent nine months recovering in the Rehabilitation Centre, Dún Laoghaire.

The determined Thomastown clubman continues to rebuild his life. He still has difficulty walking and the Segway - a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter - is his instrument of choice when on sideline duty.

If he needs to dash from his technical area to either end of the field to communicate with a player, he jumps aboard.

"I don't like the wheelchair. I don't like the mobility scooter. I use the Segway for practical purposes," the 34-year-old explained.

Kilkenny GAA have no problem accommodating the needs of a man who helped inspire the club to their first success at minor level since 1981.

"Because of my accident I have been involved with a lot of positive-minded people," Evan explained. "I love inspirational people. I am not trying to be one. I am trying to bring what I have to the table.

"No one in the club ever asked me how I was going to manage when I was appointed.

"Once I put my name forward no one questioned it."

Irish Independent

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