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Jack Kenna of Laois - The Silver Bullet Of The 1950's
Jack’s reign was from the early 1950s to 1962, the year he made an unexpected decision to retire from inter county football, aged just thirty. Born at Kilmullen,Portarlington, he assisted in forming the O’Dempsey’s club in 1951 and the club duly obliged by winning the junior county football title in the their first year.
In 1952 O’Dempsey’s followed up with the intermediate title and one of the clubs main players was Jack Kenna, who was now excelling in the Laois colours. His ability to send piledriver shots over and under the bar earned him the apt title of the ‘Silver Bullet’ and he also put a curve on many goalkeepers fingers from the ferocity of his boot. His accuracy from frees was a major element of his armoury and when the Millennium selectors chose their Laois team in 2000, Jack Kenna was chosen at right half forward.
At national level he played for Ireland against the Combined Universities team in 1960.The Railway Cup selectors regularly chose Jack and he won medals with Leinster in 1955/59/61. His retirement at thirty, following his clubs loss of county senior football finals in 1961 and 1962, came as a major shock to his county and club colleagues. Ironically, O’Dempsey’s beat arch neighbours Portarlington to win the 1963 Laois senior football title for the very first time, without their No.1 ace marksman. Jack Kenna left a great football legacy to Laois fans.
Derry JF Doody