Historian reunites family with 1909 medal won by Kilkenny hurler

Fidelma Boyle, holding the  hurling medal won by her relative, Dan Kennedy, that was returned to the family by Tony Newport, right, and his daughter Margaret. Picture: Joe Kenny

A 105-year-old Leinster medal won by a renowned hurler from Tullaroan in Kilkenny, has been reunited with his family thanks to the commitment and persistence of a veteran Tipperary footballer and local historian.

The medal was won by Dan Kennedy when Kilkenny took the Leinster senior hurling title in 1909.

By chance, it ended up in the possession of Tony Newport from Fethard in Co Tipperary, who kept it safe for over half-a-century before tracking down a relative of the Tullaroan hurler and presenting it back to the family.

“I had it for over 50 years,” he said of the medal which was one of three won by Dan Kennedy for Kilkenny, during a star-studded hurling career which saw him successful at All-Ireland level six times.

“My aunt gave it to me. I said to her, was he an old boyfriend? She didn’t say yes and she didn’t say no.”

Tony’s aunt, Monica Kenrick Sharp worked in England, where she married a Major in the British Army and she gave him the medal about 1960.

One of Tony’s daughters, Margaret, works in Kilkenny and she made some enquiries and found out that the nearest surviving direct descendant of Dan Kennedy is a granddaughter, Fidelma Boyle in Derry.

Tony, a veteran of many sports including GAA, got in contact with Mrs Boyle by telephone.

“She got very emotional,” he says of the moment he revealed he had possession of her relative’s medal.

She happened to be travelling down to Kilkenny so Tony met up with her there and handed her the famous medal.

“I was glad to have had it and been able to mind it for over 50 years,” he said.

“She was delighted to get it. She said she would eventually pass it on to her own family.”


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