Tipperary mourns Fethard priest Fr Abe Kennedy who starred for club and county in football


Tipperary mourns Fethard priest Fr Abe Kennedy who starred for club and county in football

The late Fr Abe Kennedy


The death has taken place of well known Fethard born priest Fr Abe Kennedy, who was parish priest in Abbey-Duniry, Co. Galway.

He died unexpectedly but peacefully in the presence of his loving family and under the sensitive care of the Staff of St. Lawrence's Ward, Beaumont Hospital. He was predeceased by his father Sean and mother Angela. Deeply missed by his sisters Mary and June, their partners Marc and Tom, his nieces Clodagh and Audrey, nephews Bill and Mark, grandnieces Laura, Jess, Becky, Caoimhe and Ellie, grandnephew Kealan, Bishop Kirby and the Priests of the Diocese of Clonfert.

Abe will be an enormous loss to his extended family, large circle of friends, the parish of Abbey-Duniry and communities in Portumna and Fethard.

Funeral Mass in Fethard Parish Church, Co. Tipperary on Thursday, April 25, at 12 noon with burial afterwards in Calvary Cemetery, Fethard.

Fr Abe was hugely popular in his native Fethard where he is fondy remembered. He was an outstanding footballer in his younger days, winning county championships with his beloved Blues as well as lining out with the county team.

He was also an outstanding badminton player and won many county titles.

Fr Abe's ordination was recalled in the Fethard Newsletter - 

But a member of the younger and current generation was having his special day. Among the sixteen new priests ordained at Thurles by Archbishop Morris in June 1983 was Father Abe Kennedy (a leading figure in Fethard football) who entered Thurles College in 1977 and who, following his ordination, was to serve in the diocese of Clonfert.

He was the son of Angela and Sean Kennedy, Burke Street and grandson of Abe Kennedy who had a butcher’s shop in Gladstone Street, Clonmel. At his first Mass in Fethard’s parish church, which had a congregation of from 800 to 1,000 people, the Abbey and parish choirs united for the occasion; the organist was Goldie Newport.

Afterwards, in the Ballroom a ladies committee (women in so many places give a wonderful voluntary service – seldom praised and soon forgotten) provided tea, sandwiches and cakes. This was followed by a concert with items supplied by the Hogan Musical Society and the late Don Byard on the electric organ.

In the same month, Father Kennedy celebrated Mass in the Abbey, the church that overlooked his home as he grew to maturity. Before studying for the priesthood he had trained as a psychiatric nurse in St. Luke’s Hospital, Clonmel, he had qualified as a nurse in 1974, and had later worked in Eastbourne in England. Following his ordination he returned to St. Luke’s to visit the staff and offer Mass. 

Fr Abe's badminton prowess was also recalled - 

During the year we had a number of individual successes, the most notable being Abe Kennedy, who won no less than seven championships, viz:- The County Novices mixed doubles with Miss B. O’Hara, the Drangan Mixed Doubles with Miss June Kennedy, the County under 18 singles, the County under 18 Doubles with Des Gardiner, the Waterford Novice Singles, the Waterford Novice Doubles with Don O’Connell and the Munster under 18 Doubles. This was an outstanding achievement. Then we had Pat Barrett and Danny Ryan winning the Waterford Junior Men’s Doubles.