Kennedy, Patrick (‘Paddy’) (1916–79), Gaelic footballer, was born 25 September 1916 at Rathduff, Annascaul, Co. Kerry, son of Michael Kennedy, farmer, of Rathduff, and Nora Kennedy (née Herlihy). He was educated locally and subsequently at Tralee CBS (1932–6), where he won two Munster senior college titles with the school. He also won a minor All-Ireland title with Kerry in 1933 at the age of 16. He played minor and junior football for the county in 1934, and first wore the Kerry jersey at senior level in 1936, playing in a losing All-Ireland semi-final to Mayo. He remained a regular in the Kerry team (1936–47) and on Munster's Railway Cup side (1936–46). On leaving school in 1936 he worked on his father's farm and spent some time as a clerk with Kerry county council before joining An Taca Síochána (auxiliary to the Garda Síochána) on 28 February 1940, the year after he won his only Kerry county senior title with Tralee club O'Rahilly's (later Kerins O'Rahilly's) in a side that included other Kerry legends such as Danno O'Keeffe (qv) and Dan Spring (qv). He became a full-time garda in April 1942. Stationed in Crumlin (1940–44) and Rathmines (1944–8), he, along with fellow Kerryman Joe Keohane (qv), helped an all-conquering Geraldines team to three Dublin county titles in a row (1940–42). He was tempted back from retirement to help the Garda club win a Dublin county title in 1948, giving him a total of four Dublin county championship medals.
In 1937 he partnered Johnny Walsh (qv) at centre-field in the drawn All-Ireland final with Cavan when, despite missing the victorious replay due to a broken collarbone sustained in a club match, he received his first All-Ireland medal. Three more All-Ireland medals followed in 1939, 1940, and 1941 against Meath and Galway (twice). In 1946 he won his fifth and last winners medal, captaining Kerry to victory in the final against Roscommon when Gus Cremin, the original captain, was dropped for the replay. Kennedy was the third captain that year as Eddie Dowling had captained the county to the Munster title. In addition to those five medals he also won ten Munster championship medals (1936–42, 1944, 1946, 1947) and two Railway Cup winners medals (1941, 1946) and played in three losing All-Ireland finals: to Galway (1938), Roscommon (1944), and Cavan at the Polo Grounds, New York (1947). The 1947 final saw him playing his last match for Kerry. Disappointingly for him, he had to leave the field early, after starting the game with a heavily bandaged ankle. The 1938 defeat came in a replay when, with Galway leading by four points, the crowd invaded the pitch three minutes early. By the time they were cleared from the playing area, most of the Kerry team had already left the ground and they had to complete the match with eight substitutes. The 1938 drawn final is regarded by many as the greatest exhibition of football ever seen at Croke Park, and it also ended in controversy when the referee blew for full time as a shot from Kerry's J. J. ‘Purty’ Landers (qv) was going over the bar for what would have been the winning score. Kennedy always maintained that Kerry had been robbed of what would have been an unprecedented five All-Ireland victories in a row by that decision. In a glorious career, the only medal that eluded him was a National League winners medal.
As a player, he is generally regarded to be one of the finest centre fielders ever to grace the game, and many older observers regard him as one of the finest footballers of all time. Standing 5 ft 11 in. (1.8 m) and weighing twelve stone (76.2 kg) at his peak, he was one of the greatest and most spectacular fielders of a ball, his fair hair making him instantly recognisable. He had a cool head on the field and boundless energy. He could also kick powerfully and accurately with either foot, and could reputedly kick a ball over the bar from the middle of the field. His all-round footballing ability meant that despite his reputation as a peerless midfielder, he also lined out in All-Ireland finals in both left- and centre-half forward positions. A consummate sportsman, he had a reputation as a clean and fair opponent. In 1975 he was presented with the Kerry Sports Stars Hall of Fame award by Jack Lynch (qv), who described him as the best footballer of his day. He resigned from the Garda Síochána with an exemplary service record on 14 October 1948, and became a sales representative for a mineral water company. He later managed the Crystal Ballroom in Dublin until the mid 1970s. He died 19 May 1979 at his home in Templeogue, Dublin, after suffering from cancer, within hours of the death of his 1941 All-Ireland winning captain, Bill Dillon.
He married Elizabeth Veronica Lyla (‘Lyla’) Maxwell Grogan from Rathgar, Dublin; they had two sons and two daughters. There is a memorial park dedicated to him in his native village of Annascaul.