Baby joy hours after Limerick hurling final win for Na Piarsaigh goalkeeper

Jerome O'Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O'Connell

Email:

joconnell@limerickleader.ie

Baby joy hours after Limerick hurling final win for Na Piarsaigh goalkeeper

Na Piarsaigh goalkeeper Padraic Kennedy. Insert pic: Padraic and baby Andrew

AS his team-mates celebrated at the final whistle of the Limerick SHC final, Na Piarsaigh goalkeeper Padraic Kennedy raced the length of the field from the City End goals, grabbed his gearbag at the Caherdavin End corner and swiftly left the LIT Gaelic Grounds.

Captain William O'Donoghue hadn't lifted the Daly Cup in the Mackey Stand and Kennedy was already in his car.

Just over 10-hours after that final whistle, baby Andrew Kennedy was born to happy parents, Jacinta and Padraic and 17-month old big brother William.

"Limited celebrations for me but I wouldn't change it for anything," Padraic Kennedy explained this Sunday evening.

"When we woke up on Saturday morning Jacinta said I don't want to alarm you but I was having pains all night. I got up with William. The pains seem to ease off. Or so I thought and so she said! But about five minutes after I left to go for the warm-up for the game, she rang my mother to come up. She had been having labour pains all day but didn't want to bother me. She said she knew that she was hours off so didn't bother telling me," explained Padraic.

"My brother dropped her into the Maternity and then told one of the lads that was at the match to tell me at the final whistle," he recalled.

"The minute the final whistle went, he raced onto the field and told me and so I raced off."

Television replays show Kennedy racing the length of the pitch as his team-mates and management celebrate.

"I text Jacinta to say I was on the way but she rang to say they won't let you in because she was still a few hours off. I tried to get in but they sent me away. So I went back to the clubhouse and had the bite to eat with the lads and then went home to bed. Around 1.30am she called to get me in," he said.

"About 6.55am Andrew was born."

Covid-19 restrictions mean all is very different to when their first baby (William) was born.

"I couldn't go back to the ward or anything. About an hour after delivery I was out of there again. You are not allowed into the ward, just the labour ward or theatre and then you have to leave and say your goodbyes there," said Padraic.

"Everything went great - a fit and healthy baby. It's all just brilliant," he beamed.

Kennedy was a member of the Limerick minor hurling panel that reached the 2005 All-Ireland MHC final - losing to Galway.

In 2006 he made his Na Piarsaigh senior debut in goals - deputising for the injured John Fitzgerald.

"I was bit-part corner forward for a few years but 2009 was my first year fully in goals - the year we lost the county final to Adare," he explained.

Kennedy now holds six Limerick senior hurling championship medals, four Munster club medals and an All-Ireland club medal.

Where does the 2020 final rank?

"I can't remember too many of the wins down the years - it's more the defeats; '09 obviously, the 2014 county final against Kilmallock, the Portumna game in the All-Ireland semi final. Those games stick with you more, until maybe when you are finished you will look back fonder," he said.

He added: "there were some great days".

"Definitely one of the sweetest ones ever because of the amount of effort we had put in - even during lockdown. The nature of the whole performance, not individuals but the team was incredible. It was exactly what we had worked on for months - almost like the All-Ireland final in 2016 when everything came together," said Kennedy of the 27-point win over Doon.

"The greatest thing is when the effort is worth it in the end."