SUCH is his dedication to the club he loves, Killarney Rugby Club captain Peter Kelly even postponed his honeymoon, following his recent marriage, to be on hand to help out with club affairs until the end of the season.
It came as no surprise this week, therefore, when he was named Ballyseedy Volunteer of the Month by Munster Rugby for his remarkable dedication and commitment.
For long periods of last season the Killarney club struggled without a proper coaching team and, as the losses stacked up, the playing squad shrank. By the end of the season, the matchday replacements’ bench sometimes consisted of a solitary player.
In June, Peter was elected club captain and immediately set about rebuilding the club and changing the culture. A list was put together of all past youth and senior players and as the summer progressed, he slowly built his squad to 30 and finally the mid-40s.
Peter also put together a fantastic pre-season programme with the support of an experienced coach and arranged pre-season friendlies. At the same time, he steadily built up the backroom team, culminating in the appointment of a head coach, Diarmuid O’Malley.
“Peter’s dedication to the club and to rugby is epitomised by the fact that he is still playing at loosehead prop at 49. Following his recent wedding, he even postponed his honeymoon until the season is over,” said club vice chairman Tom O’Leary who nominated Peter for the award.
“For the first time ever, we have started bridging the gap between the youth and senior set-ups with senior players helping out as required, all spearheaded by Peter,” he added.
On receiving his award, Peter said: “I was shocked and it’s a credit to the club and the players we have. I went through the list of every player registered with Killarney underage and got in contact, and before we knew it we had increased our numbers from 16 or 17 to over 30”.
He added:“We lost our first game of the season but won our next eight games and are into the promotional play-off.
“What I love about rugby is that no matter what size or shape you are, there is a position for everyone.”
In addition to his Volunteer of the Month award Peter will receive a hamper and a VIP hospitality package for two, including tickets, to a Munster home game.
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