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21 January 2007

Jim Kelly

Name: James Miskelly
Born: 1 December 1870, Belfast
Died: 22 February 1935
Position: Inside-Right

Representative Honours: Ireland: 1 Full Cap (1896); Irish League: 5 Caps/3 Goals (1895-1897).
Club Honours: (with Belfast Celtic) Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1894/95; (with Glentoran) Irish League Champion 1896/97; Irish Cup Runner-Up 1895/96; City Cup Winner 1896/97; Charity Cup Winner 1895/96.

Club Career:
FA Cup
Belfast Glenavon
Belfast Celtic
(Junior League)
Belfast Celtic
* all games.

Born at the Mount in east-Belfast, James Miskelly (he used the name Kelly for football) began his footballing career with Belfast Glenavon in 1889, signing with Belfast Celtic (at the time still a Junior club) for the 1893/94 season. Celtic claimed their first major honour in 1895, defeating Distillery 3-1 in the Co. Antrim Shield Final at Solitude - they had finished as runners-up the two previous seasons. The club's stock then rose further with a 1-0 win over Linfield in a friendly.

Kelly made the jump to senior football a year before Belfast Celtic, signing for Glentoran for the 1895/96 season. It proved a successful campaign for Kelly; he scored nine goals (including four in the 8-2 Irish Cup semi-final win over Derry North End), played in the Irish Cup Final (although the Glens lost 3-1 to Distillery), and picked up a winner's medal following a 1-0 victory over Cliftonville in the Charity Cup Final.

That season also brought Kelly his first major representative honours. He scored both goals on his debut for the Irish League in a 2-2 draw against the Football League, adding another strike in a 3-2 defeat by the Scottish League. In March 1896 he was selected at inside-right (rather than his normal club position of inside-left) for Ireland's game against England at Solitude. The match finished in a 2-0 defeat, and proved to be Kelly's only international appearance as the Irish selectors took some time to settle on a forward line.

Four goals from Kelly (including one against his old club, Belfast Celtic, who were struggling to adjust to senior football) during the 1896/97 season helped Glentoran to an Irish League and City Cup double. The 1897/98 season brought three goals from Kelly, two of which were in a 4-2 defeat by Linfield and the other in another crushing defeat of Belfast Celtic. It proved to be a disappointing campaign for Glentoran, and Kelly dropped out of the first eleven mid-season.

Kelly returned to Belfast Celtic in 1898. He played two seasons back at Shaun's Park, helping the club to their first Irish League title before he left senior football in 1900.

Ireland Cap Details:
07-03-1896 England. H L 0-2 BC

Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.

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