‘Big Jack’ and Derrygonnelly ready for Ulster challenge

It was June 2013, Fergus and Gill Kelly have made the brave decision to move back home to Derrygonnelly from Oxford, England.
Also making the trip across the Irish Sea were their two sons, Jack and Kieran. For 21-year-old Jack the rest is history.
Back then he was a 16 year old who had never even watched a live Gaelic football match until he went with his Dad to watch a Derrygonnelly Senior league game on a Sunday afternoon away in Roslea. From that point on Kelly was hooked to GAA.
“I suppose looking back now the great Damien McGovern who sadly passed away was the main person who got me out for Derrygonnelly u16 and minor teams at the time.
“I had played soccer back in England for Oxford United Youth and went straight into goals for Derrygonnelly Harps because of that.
“I had only seen Gaelic on TV and just two weeks after moving I’m involved in a league game and doing nets in a sport where I wasn’t fully sure of the rules.”
‘Big Jack’ as he is more commonly known around Derrygonnelly has performed superbly this season with three clean sheets in his three Championship games against Roslea, Devenish and Ederney.
Although he was in and out of the team last year having a major contest with the now retired Dermot Feeley, this season Kelly has been the undisputed number one. That made victory over Ederney in the final all the sweeter
“No matter what they say, every Championship win tastes sweet. We were probably under pressure to perform because we had read that beating Roslea by six and beating Devenish by seven still wasn’t good enough, but thankfully in the second half against Ederney we really blitzed them and came out the right side of a 2-16 to 0-10 win.”
Next up for Jack and his Harps team mates is a testing tie with Kieran Donnelly’s Scotstown. The Farney men will be getting plenty of information on the Fermanagh club, but, by the same token, Kelly knows what to expect from Scotstown.
“They will be a tough tests, no doubting that whatsoever, to win a Monaghan Senior Football Championship you have to be a very good side and to do it four times in a row makes you an exceptional side in a county the size of Monaghan.
“We are excited to be going back into Ulster Club action and we will work hard in training and know on Sunday we need to stick to our game plan and do the right things when we have the ball.
“The likes of Darren and Kieran Hughes are known throughout Ireland and facing them is no mean task, but we have worked hard to get here, and we will give it everything to not let this chance go past us.”
The future looks bright for Derrygonnelly and even more so with ‘Big Jack’ between the sticks.

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