On Sunday, Ballyea overcame Cork champions, Glen Rovers, to be crowned with their first ever Munster hurling title. It was a dominant performance by Ballyea, but undeniably, the star of the show was Clare hurler Tony Kelly.
From winning Minor and u21 hurling championships, a National League, Senior All-Ireland to Fitzgibbon Cups with UL, it is without doubt that Tony Kelly is one of the most successful players of his generation.
Over the past number of years Tony Kelly’s stardom has exponentially risen and that’s no surprise judging by these mesmerising statistics. The question was posed, “Does Tony Kelly lose hurling finals?”
Unbelievably, other than losing an under 21 club championship with Ballyea in 2014, the last hurling final that Tony Kelly lost was as a seventeen-year-old in 2010. After claiming the Munster minor title, their eyes were set on All-Ireland victory. In that minor All-Ireland final, Kelly’s Clare side lost out to Kilkenny by just two points in Croke Park.
However, the following year in 2011, with Tony Kelly being the man that he is, he captained his Clare minor side to a back-to-back Munster hurling title. Unfortunately for him and his team-mates, they lost out to Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Since 2010, Kelly has lost only two of the finals that he has competed in. He has played in eighteen, and out of those, he has won sixteen – giving him an 88.88% success rate in hurling finals. One final that many might believe Kelly lost was with UL in 2016 against Mary I, but that year Kelly wasn’t even on the panel. In the Clare Senior Hurling Championship, Ballyea won the ‘B’ championship in 2013, with 2016 being the next time they were to reach a senior final – which they won – and eventually went on to beat Glen Rovers in the Munster final.
In relation to the Clare Senior hurling team, they haven’t reached a Munster final since 2008. In 2013, they won the All-Ireland final by going through the back door system, so he didn’t compete in a Munster final that year either. With regards to the National League, Clare have failed to get to the final since 2005 other than when they were victorious against Waterford in 2016.
It’s important to note that the statistics below don’t include personal achievements such as player of the year awards, or his many club football achievements with Clonegad. Of course, he has lost games up to finals as after all, he’s not super-human, but judging by the statistics Tony Kelly is a big game player. To say the least, he seems to enjoy finals.
Overall, these Tony Kelly honours from various hurling finals since 2010 aren’t too bad at all.
- Munster Club Championship (2016)
- Clare Senior A Club Championship (2016)
- Allianz National Hurling League Final (2016)
- College Fitzgibbon Cup final with UL (2015)
- All-Ireland u21 Championship (2014)
- Munster u21 Championship (2014)
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (2013)
- All-Ireland u21 Championship (2013)
- Munster u21 Championship (2013)
- Clare Senior ‘B’ Championship (2013)
- All Ireland u21 Championship (2012)
- Munster u21 Championship (2012)
- Clare u21 Championship (2012)
- Munster Minor Championship (2011)
- Clare u21 ‘B’ Championship (2011)
- Munster Minor Championship (2010)
With Kelly still being only 22 years of age, it’s an inevitability that the list above will continue to grow.
Tony Kelly, take a bow.
Jason Redmond, Pundit Arena.