Former referee Pat Kelly brings his game to book

Former referee Pat Kelly brings his game to book

Pat Kelly, was shocked to see his son, Alan Kelly, who surprised his dad after flying home for the book launch in October. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

IT is that special time of year when we gather with our family and friends at parties, events, and dinners to celebrate and give thanks for the many gifts in our lives.

Many people have special traditions that bring them closer to one another around Christmas time of the year to show their love and gratitude. Through the difficult Covid times, we saw the power of sport. We saw how much it was missed from people’s lives and the huge effect it had when it returned.

Being able to give something back through sport is a great thing. I love when clubs do their bit, especially at Christmas time with organised charity games. Not only does it bring players together in a fun environment, it makes them aware of those less fortunate than them.

One particular man who was eager to give back to sport was former FIFA referee Pat Kelly. 

Back in October, we saw how Kelly did his bit to support three local charities.

With over 250 in attendance at Rochestown Park Hotel, Kelly launched his book It Happened By Chance. It was a fantastic evening with players past and present, League legislators and referee’s both former and current in attendance and memories were exchanged by all. 

Copies of the book were signed for all which was followed by a question-and-answer session between MC John McHale, Pat, and a captive audience. A special mention to one particular man who was in the audience that evening but who has unfortunately since passed away is former referee Brian O'Regan. 

I was so saddened to hear of Brian's passing. He was a complete gentleman who figured in Kelly's book and he will be remembered fondly for all he offered to the game throughout the years. RIP Brian.

Representatives of the charitable organisations to which the proceeds will be shared, Marymount Hospice, Mercy Hospital, and the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland were very appreciative of the work put in by the committee. 

 Jim Hennessey and Finbarr Buckley supporting Pat Kelly. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Jim Hennessey and Finbarr Buckley supporting Pat Kelly. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Copies of the book went on sale and for Kelly, it has been a mind-blowing period to date.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed with how well the book is selling,” said Kelly. "The idea to write a book was following a prompt by former Cork City player Pat Duggan and his late father Paddy to put my stories in a book and I am delighted to see it become a reality following a few years of research and memory jogging on my part, and the help of the Organising Committee, Plunkett Carter, Gerry Desmond, and Fergie McDaid who gave their time and patience to ensure that the project was successful. 

"At the outset, we decided that the proceeds of the book would go to Marymount Hospice, a charity which has touched nearly every family in the city. As time went on and following a story in The Echo by former St Mary’s and Cork City player Declan Daly whose parents passed away in the Mercy Hospital, we decided to add that charity to the fundraiser. With some of my own siblings suffering from Dementia/Alzheimer’s as the book neared completion, this charity was added to the ticket also. 

"All three charities are very close to my heart and have touched the hearts of every family in the Country. For me to see the books sell at such a quick rate is fantastic because I want to give these charities as much as I can before Christmas. I am delighted to say that because of the huge interest in the book, we have just received a second print this week.

“We had contacted clubs in the city and county as well as the Munster Clubs together with the ISRS Branches throughout the Country. We had purchases from near and far with the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Turkey, Scotland, and Wales and some local clubs having already committed. The feedback regarding the content of the book has been amazing. 

"The stories, jogging memories of past matches over three decades and the photos of Local, National, and international players from various Countries over that period as well has really interested people. And I hope that people can use this Christmas period as an opportunity to buy the book, maybe as a Christmas stocking filler, all while supporting three local charities."

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