Kenny Clan: Front - Brothers Henry, Mike and Jim Kenny with the Sean Connolly Cup after Cashel won the Longford SFC Final. Back; Sean Kenny, Mary (Jim’s wife), the late Brigid and Johnny Kenny
Cashel and St Faithleach’s, two GAA clubs in different counties and provinces, are united in grief and sadness this week following the death of Henry Kenny, a giant whose legacy will be recalled fondly, both sides of the river Shannon.
Henry of Clontuskert, Lanesboro, Roscommon and formerly of Ballinahinch, Newtowncashel, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family, on Monday, April 6.
“He was a huge character and personality and was very much to the forefront of Cashel’s golden era,” recalled Cashel clubman Martin Skelly. “He was a legendary corner back, producing countless memorable performances in the number two jersey.”
Henry lined out with Cashel during the 1960s, 70s and 80s and has the distinction of winning Junior (1964), Intermediate (1968) and Senior Championship (1977, 1983 and 1984) medals.
He also won five Leader Cup titles with Cashel and numerous All-Ireland titles with the hugely successful Mountdillon (Bord na Móna) team. Henry also represented Longford at Minor level and finished his career with the Longford Masters.
Mr Skelly recalled, “Henry was rewarded for his heroic efforts on the field of play when he was awarded Player of the Year at the Cashel dinner dance in 1987. He also served the club well off the pitch and was club secretary in 1972 and ‘73, and he was a selector when Cashel won the Senior Championship in 1986.”
Henry resided in Cloontuskert and after his playing days in Cashel were over he became heavily involved with St Faithleach’s GAA club, particularly at underage level. His sons, Enda and Henry Jnr were skilful players in their own right, in both gaelic and soccer with Longford Town. Indeed, the pair of them played when new Ireland manager Stephen Kenny was in charge of De Town.
St Faithleach’s Club Chairperson Michael Cleary posted this fine tribute to the Henry Kenny on Facebook:
“Henry was an outstanding person whose contribution to his community is without equal in so many ways. His passing has left a void that will never be filled.
“Henry was first and foremost a family man – a proud husband, father and grandfather. He adored his family and they adored him.
“Last year, he and Mary celebrated 50 years of married life together and the whole Kenny clan and friends marked the occasion with the warmth and affection that Henry and Mary richly deserved.
“Henry had a most endearing personality, he was everyone’s friend and being in his company was certainly never dull. It could be the friendly banter, a witty comment or simply his unique way with words that set him apart from the ordinary.
“There was always a twinkle of devilment in his eye and he was at his best when he was in the middle of some mischievous fun.
“People felt good in Henry’s company and it was always interesting to witness him meeting with people from other clubs, or people he knew from the past – you could always see the depth of friendships he had....the friendly smile, the warm greeting and the recollections of bygone days where most conversations ended in laughter.
“Henry was a proud Newtowncashel man and many a story has been told of his playing days with his beloved Longford club.
“Always described as tough but fair, Henry was an uncompromising player on the field of play - I could certainly say there’s many a corner forward in Longford with vivid memories of marking Henry! However, Newtowncashel’s loss was to be St Faithleach’s gain when Henry and Mary made their home in Cloontuskert.
“For so many years Henry has been the heartbeat of St Faithleach’s. He gave so much and expected little in return. His work, his interest, his enthusiasm and his humour made him the truly popular and valued man that he was.
“He and his family are immersed in the fabric of the club – his children and grandchildren play or have played in the red and white. Mary too gives as much to the club as Henry.
“Every player from the youngest to oldest knew Henry and he knew every one of them. Very few, if any, in the history of St Faithleach’s have played such a pivotal role in the day-to-day life of the club as Henry has done for decades.
“He spent many years helping with teams; he was chairperson of our Minor Club and served for a long number of years on the club executive committee. He always gave so willingly of his time in so many roles; he was most obliging and extremely generous. However, in recent years, he would often wittingly remind us, “I’m not on any committee!!” Yet he was the one doing most of the work!
“He spent countless hours maintaining the club grounds and was a very proud man when, thanks mainly to his Trojan work, we were awarded best club grounds in Connacht. Year after year, he took great pride in presenting the grounds to such high standards; he assisted before, during and after functions in our clubhouse; he was central to every project undertaken by the club – you never saw Henry giving less than 100%.
“On the other hand, though, Henry never hesitated in letting anyone know if things weren’t to his satisfaction, but the odd minor disgruntled comment would be quickly replaced with his playful grin.
“The whole community was stunned when Henry’s health suddenly declined last November but we were encouraged by the recovery he was making over the following months. But that recovery was short-lived; a worse prognosis was to follow and Henry’s charming and colourful life was coming to an end.
“Such was the esteem in which Henry was held in the community, there was a deep sense of shock when this news spread. The seemingly indestructible Henry wouldn’t be with us for much longer.
“However, the community’s grief on the loss of Henry is nothing to what it is for Mary and all the Kenny family. They have lost a truly great family man, a man that can be warmly described as ‘a character’.
“Let’s hope and pray that they will be reconciled by fond memories of happier times, memories of a very special man.”
Predeceased by his parents Johnny and Brigid, Henry Kenny will be sadly missed by his heartbroken wife Mary and daughters Marie, Pauline, Claire, Ursula and Olive, sons Enda and Henry, 20 adored grandchildren Chloe, Emma, Shane, Thomas, Keelin, David, Lee, Eoin, Katie, Rachel, Harry, Orla, Sinead, Éanna, James, Tomás, Ella, Anna, Stephen and Cara, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, brothers Sean, Michael and James, sisters Kathleen and Bernadette, aunt Celine and uncle Gerdie, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, extended family, relatives, neighbours and wide circle of friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.