Bench in honour of the late Michael ‘Fog’ Kenny is unveiled in Craanford

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Sit, rest and remember’ is the touching, simple yet profound inscription on the beautiful new bench that was unveiled in honour of the late Michael ‘Fog’ Kenny at Craanford Fr. O’Regan’s GAA Club last Tuesday evening.

Fond memories of Michael ‘Fog’ Kenny” completes the wording of the small plaque that will hopefully be read by generations of players, supporters and visitors as life continues without a man held in huge regard by the proud club and all those who knew him.

Dusk was creeping in when Mick Kenny’s son Mike drew back the covering to reveal the new bench with the sound of a rousing round of applause erupting into the beautiful, still June night as he did.

It was a fitting end to a wonderful evening of hurling and community where guests were treated to top-class action, complimentary refreshments and fine hospitality over the course of several carefree hours.

Four thoroughly enjoyable games took place on both superb pitches at the Craanford complex. The home side got the better of Carnew Emmets in their opening game, but only after a penalty shoot-out. Kilrush-Askamore defeated Ballygarrett Réalt na Mara in the other game leaving Craanford Fr. O’Regan’s facing their neighbours in the cup final and Carnew and Ballygarrett doing battle in the shield decider.

With sublime performances from Tomás ‘Tucker’ Kinsella for Kilrush and Brendan Tobin for Craanford, the very decent crowd were treated to a high-quality affair on the top pitch in the cup final, with the home side coming through by 3-14 to 1-17.

A fierce battle was fought on the bottom pitch with Carnew Emmets emerging victorious over Ballygarrett by 2-7 to 2-6.

But whatever about the hurling, the most important thing was the community, the laughter, the banter, the togetherness. Perhaps the most poignant moment was when the Craanford team, led by captain Eoin Doyle, gathered around the Kenny family with the Michael Kenny Memorial Cup as they sat on the new bench for a celebratory photo.

The image suggested a family being embraced by a club, wrapped within its powerful arms, shielded, protected. It was a lovely sight after such a wholesome event.

Prior to the unveiling of the bench, Craanford Fr. O’Regan’s chairperson Anita Kavanagh welcomed everyone to the event, especially the family of the late ‘Fog’ Kenny.

“As chairperson of Craanford Fr. O’Regan’s I want to welcome everyone here tonight, especially Mick’s family, his wife Maeve, children Blaithnaid, Aisling and Mike, his mother and father, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and all his friends,” she said.

“It’s hard to believe it’s eight years ago since we first hosted the Michael Kenny Memorial Tournament, and as a club we are proud and honoured to host this tournament in his honour.

“I was never privileged to work with Mick, but as we stand here tonight, I think everyone of us can look around the fields, the complex, the dressing rooms, everything, Mick’s heart and soul went into everything he did within the club here. The facilities are outstanding, and he enjoyed every project he ever undertook,” she added.

Standing alongside Anita was Mick Kenny’s son, Mike.

“There’s a saying that ‘an apple never falls far from the tree’, and this is true with Mike. Mike hasn’t left the pitch in the last week. From pouring concrete, to lining out pitches and generally making everyone laugh, Mike, thanks for all your help throughout the week,” said Anita.

“To all the men and women who have come out in force during the last week to help out, thank you all so much. It is a testament to how well Mick was respected within our club. To the referees, the umpires, the linesmen, to Kilrush, Carnew and Ballygarrett, thank you all so much for the excellent display of hurling and sportsmanship,” she added.

Anita presented the Michael Kenny Memorial Shield to Carnew Emmets captain John Doyle and the cup to Craanford’s Eoin Doyle. Eoin paid tribute to the committee who had put so much work into the event and to the Kenny family who he said were a major part of the Craanford Fr. O’Regan’s club.

And then it came to the unveiling of the new bench. A hush fell on the crowd. Night approached gently.

“And finally, one little thing,” began Anita. “The club always wanted to acknowledge Mick and all the work that he has done, and just something to mark his dedication to Craanford GAA, we’ve placed a bench here overlooking both pitches, something for everyone to sit down on and enjoy the game of hurling or football or whatever it is. A special work of thanks to James Byrne for creating this masterpiece which is a fitting tribute to Mick,” she said.

And with that, Mike Kenny drew back the covering to reveal the beautiful wooden bench that stands strongly upon a concrete base and gives whoever may sit upon it in the years to come a great view of both pitches and the stunning scenery beyond and, as the inscription suggests, a chance to sit, rest and remember.



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