Seamus Kennedy - An appreciation from Listowel Cycling Club

January 18th, 2013
by Tadhg Moriarty

Kerry lost one of its all time sporting legends with the death of the great Seamus Kennedy on Monday last. Kennedy was one of six riders to bring the Ras Tailteann title to the Kingdom when he was victorious in 1978. The others were Gene Manganin'55, Paud Fitzgerald in '56, Mick Murphy in'58 John Mangan in '72 and Andy Roche in '97.

Kennedy was from Co Meath and he was the son of West Kerry Parents. He was one of the all time greats of Irish cycling and dominated the national scene in the 1970's.

He had competed in the Ras on 12 occasions, winning 12 stages also, but had failed to win the overall title.  However he took up the invitation to wear the Kerry jersey in 1978 and he joined Anthony O Halloran, Mike Breen and Dan Clifford on the team at the start in Shannon for the first stage to Listowel.

It was on Stage 7 from Letterkenny, Co Donegal, to Warrenpoint, Co Down – the longest  stage of the race with a distance of 101 miles – that he pounced to win the stage and take the famous yellow jersey of race leader.

With the unyielding support of his Kerry team mates he held on to win the title two days later in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. He had just over a minute to spare over another cycling legend, the great Bobby Power from Tipperary who sadly passed away around this time last year. The German Hans Willer, whom Kennedy had dislodged from the overall lead, was third overall.

Kennedy will be missed on the Ras which gets underway next weekend. He managed the Meath team in many a Ras since his own victory and was a very popular figure in Castleisland at the stage finish last year, being greeted by one and all. He always said that he felt special when he came to the Kingdom and he understood what his great win in 1978 meant to Kerry.

To his family, the cycling community in Kerry send their deepest sympathy and assure them that his memory and his great feats will live forever in the sporting annals of the Kingdom.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam Dilis.

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