Memories Of Toots Kelleher

In Gaelic Football for Cork and Millstreet Toots Kelleher did play
One of Ireland’s best forwards when in his prime day
One never found to be wanting when put to the test
For Club and for County he always performed at his best
That he never played a bad game a remarkable feat
One jubilant in victory and gracious in defeat
In Croke Park and Killarney, Cork, Coachford and Macroom
He made a big name for himself in the prime of his life’s bloom
The spirit of the true gael the great man personified
For his ability and sportsmanship in his chosen sport he became known far and wide
In Gaelic Football circles Toots Kelleher from Millstreet Town became a household name
In the length and breadth of Ireland he knew of widespread fame
Fond memories of the man he was to this day I retain
And often in my flights of fancy I watch him play again.

by Francis Duggan

1963 Denis Kelleher (aka 'Toots') of Minor Row in the Millstreet team that won the County Junior FinalFrom the Hogan Stand magazine – 01 January 2001

Kelleher, Denis ’Toots’

The death has taken place of Denis ’Toots’ Kelleher, acknowledged as one of the greats of Cork football. He was in his seventies and had been ill for some time.

A native of Millstreet, he had lived in Kerry Pike, Clogheen, since his marriage to his late wife, Angela Walsh, a member of a well-known and highly-respected local family. He played a key role during the county’s successful period in the mid ’fifties when they contested consecutive All-Ireland finals and captured two national league titles. He served for a period as senior football selector. He and his late wife were also well-known in greyhound circles and he was prominently associated with Millstreet Coursing Club.

He is also remembered with great respect as an outstanding forward with his club, Millstreet and at inter-county and provincial level. He played at midfield in the 1952 league final victory over New York in Croke Park and also played in that position in that season’s Munster final victory and in the All-Ireland defeat by Cavan. When Cork won the 1956 Munster title, he was in the half forward line and in the All-Ireland final he scored two second half goals against Galway.

He was deprived of a medal when Louth won the 1957 final. He was also on the losing side in the Railway Cup finals of ’53, ’57 and ’58. Sympathy has been extended to his family, Bill, Val, Jim, Barry, John and June, his brother John, sisters Mary, Monica and Kathleen, grandchildren and his extended family.


2 thoughts on “Memories Of Toots Kelleher”

  1. Everyone who had seen Toots Kelleher play of him had their own story
    A famous Gaelic Footballer in his prime years he reached the heights of glory
    The fans of Cork in red and Millstreet in green by him often delighted
    When he was racing goal-wards with the ball one could not but feel excited

    In defeat a gracious and sporting man and in victory elated
    In Gaelic Football in Ireland in the nineteen fifties he was one of the celebrated
    Fearless on the field of play and in courage never lacking
    And quite dangerous near the opposition goals when his side was attacking

    When Cork and his club Millstreet were playing often the main attraction
    Toots Kelleher in his glory years was Duhallow’s man of action
    When he was in his glorious prime than him not any greater
    But time takes care of everyone if not sooner then later

    Strong as a horse of skill and dare he was a great footballer
    Toots Kelleher was a mighty man he made big men feel smaller
    Quite fair but hard on the field of play and fearless in every tackle
    To opposition defenders he was one who proved too hard to shackle

    Though long deceased good memories of Toots with us are remaining
    Of umpires and referees in defeat one who was never heard complaining
    And everyone who saw him play of him had their own story
    In Gaelic Football in the fifties he reached the heights of glory.

    “Toots Kelleher Was A Mighty Man” is by Francis Duggan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.