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Sadness at death of true Gorey Gael and Naomh Eanna founder Michael ‘Duckman’ Kennedy (90)


The late Michael 'Duckman' Kennedy.

The late Michael 'Duckman' Kennedy.

The late Michael 'Duckman' Kennedy.


Gorey lost a GAA stalwart and true gentleman this week as Michael ‘Duckman’ Kennedy passed away peacefully aged 90 on Monday.

Michael, who is a founding member of Naomh Éanna GAA Club, gave a life of service to Gaelic games as a player, referee and administrator. In recent weeks, the many friends and teammates he made throughout his time with the GAA came together to celebrate his 90th birthday at Naomh Éanna. While Michael was unable to attend the party in person, he did participate in the celebrations and reconnect with old friends through Facetime. At the event, a presentation of a hurl owned by Michael 48 years ago was made to his family, while a bouquet of flowers was presented to his wife Vera.

Michael was born in 1932 in Wexford Street, in a part of town known as The Rookery. A nearby green and ball alley offered a great opportunity for the development of skills in hurling and football and young Michael spent a lot of time there. 

As a young player, Michael played for a team from The Rookery called Young Irelanders. He progressed on to play for Gorey Young Emmets and Wolfe Tones. He was an excellent footballer and hurler.

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In the early 1950s, Michael emigrated to England. He joined the GAA over there and found great support and comfort in the community. He played for Watford Glen Rovers, Luton and St. Finbarr's of Coventry. He played hurling and football with St. Finbarr's and was captain of their football team when they won the Warwickshire championship.

Eventually, Michael returned home and took over the running of the Wolfe Tones in Gorey. He gave marvellous service as a player and organiser for years. In the 1970s, a very promising bunch of young players came through and Michael was approached with a prospect of founding a new club. He came on board immediately and got his just rewards in 1974 when he won an intermediate hurling championship and junior football championship with Naomh Éanna. The new club took off and developed into the club that exists today.

Michael was a player and a mentor and held various positions at club and county level. He played his last game for Naomh Éanna at the age of 58. Through his extensive and varied involvement in GAA across the country, Michael acquired a lot of knowledge. He was renowned for knowing the in-depth history of the clubs in Gorey and many people would go to him to gather information and to hear his stories.

Outside of the GAA scene, Michael had a busy and happy personal life. He was married to his beloved wife Vera and together they had five children: Mark, Des, Michelle, Debra and Mary. He worked in NET in Arklow and served as Town Commissioner in Gorey for a period.

Above all, Michael was known as a great Gael, a true Gorey man and a gentleman. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He was the beloved husband of Vera and loving father of Debra, Mark, Michelle, Des and Mary and brother of Billy and the late May, Lily, Peter, Owen, Thomas and Nellie. Deeply regretted by his loving wife, sons, daughters, brother, grandchildren Oscar, Maia, Stella, Eve, Heidi and Ruby, great-grandchild Isla, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and neighbours. 

Michael will be reposing at Floods Funeral Home, McDermott Street, Gorey, on Wednesday, November 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. His funeral mass will take place on Thursday, November 24 at 11.00 a.m. in St. Michael's Church, Gorey. Burial afterwards in St. Michael's Cemetery, Gorey. Family flowers only, donations, if desired, to The Friends of Gorey District Hospital.