Within a short few days at the height of summer, two legends of Ballyboden St. Endas departed for the championship fields of eternity. As the funeral of Eddie Finn was about to take place, word went around the ‘Boden guard of honour (on Friday 30 July 2021) at St. John the Evangelist Church, Ballinteer that club Vice-President, Martin Kenny had also passed on.
Club Chairman, Ciarán MacUidhir has paid this tribute. “Eddie and Martin were men of a rare breed, both full of passion, life, devilment and stories and both a joy to be around. Club members, young and old, enjoyed their passion for the GAA, especially hurling, and for Ballyboden St. Endas. Both men had a great sense of humour and had a great wealth of stories to tell about times past. Vice-President Martin was part of one of the first hurling teams in Ballyboden having joined from St. Columba’s with his brothers. He helped to build the clubhouse on the Firhouse Road and had a very active part in games in the club for most of our 50 years. He had the pleasure of seeing his children and his grandchildren play for ‘Boden and took pride in their achievements, although like all loving Irish parents and grandparents, he was slow to let them hear him praise them. Both Eddie and Martin are a part of our history, and their contribution and values remain part of the fabric of Ballyboden St. Endas. With their passing, the responsibility for maintaining those values and standards passes to a new generation, but we will take inspiration from men like Eddie and Martin. Our sincere sympathies to the Finn and Kenny families on the loss of two giants.”
In 2022, Ballyboden St. Endas will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first adult hurling success when the junior team captured the inaugural Corn Fogarty on 22 October 1972. On the team that day was Martin Kenny and his brother Paddy. Twelve months later Martin and Paddy were joined by another brother Larry who were part of the first Junior hurling championship winning squad. In 1974, Martin was part of the intermediate championship success which brought the club to senior hurling championship status – a position it has never lost. The team beat Crumlin in the final, an ironic twist as Martin was a member of the former St. Columba’s, Crumlin team which was a major hurling force in the 1950s and 1960s. When Columba’s and St. Agnes’ merged in 1970 to form the Crumlin club, Martin was among the “Galway” contingent which joined ‘Boden to form the first adult hurling team in the club in 1971, two years after its formation.
Over the years Martin, a native of Meelick-Eyrecourt, Co. Galway, was an active coach and mentor at juvenile and adult levels. In 1983, he was a mentor of the club’s first Féile na nGael success, when the team won the Dublin Division 2 title. A club Vice-President since 2018, Martin and Edwina’s children and grand-children have carried on that tradition that began half a century ago.
Ballyboden St. Endas Vice President Martin Kenny (on right ) with former GAA President Nickey Brennan (centre) and ‘Boden’s Joe Young
Eddie Finn joined the club in the mid 1980s having previously been a member of Dundrum and Kevins hurling clubs. A former referee, he soon made his mark and recorded his first success as a mentor in 1985 when ‘Boden won the Top 4 of the Junior A hurling league. As Junior hurling manager in the late 1980s – the club won everything on offer from the Junior Hurling Board – Championship, League, Corn Fogarty and Corn Céitinn. His final success as a mentor came 23 years later with the 2008 minor B hurling championship winning team. In between he was involved in 18 successful teams winning underage (minor and U21) and adult hurling championships, leagues and cup competitions. He also found time to serve as junior hurling board delegate and was a hurling committee Chairman for a period.
Pre-deceased by his wife Anne, they were well-known for their love of set-dancing and were great supporters of the Ballyboden monthly céilí. Eddie was widely read and loved quizzes excelling in 1988 as a member of the club Quiz Team that won the Dublin Scór competition. A proud Waterford man from Clonea Power, on his final journey Eddie’s coffin carried the blue and white of his native county and the club he served so well.
Ballyboden St. Endas Eddie Finn (right) receives a presentation from Team Captain Jimmy Galavan to celebrate the club’s victory in the 1988 Junior A Hurling Championship.