Football has lost a distinguished goalkeeper with the recent passing of Joe Kinkead.
So much has been written and said about Joe’s sad passing on March 10 and so much more will be talked about in the coming days too as those who were fortunate to have been in his company over his lifetime in the world of sport, come to terms with his sudden death at the age of 81.
Joe’s most noteworthy performance may have been the 1961 Irish Cup final when Glenavon beat Linfield 5-1. After signing amateur forms for Linfield from Distillery in August 1952 he was to make more than 200 appearances between 1952-58 and was capped at schoolboy, youth and junior international levels.
His football career took him to Larne in 1958 and he had made over 100 appearances for Glenavon by the time he retired in 1966.
He then turned his attention towards management commencing with Glenvon and Ards and was manager of the Northern Ireland Youth Team in 1973-74.
Having taken over from the legendary Billy Humphries at Ards, he joined the late Winston Wilkinson’s backroom team in charge of the Irish Badminton squad.
When Wilkinson was to resign his position due to work pressures, Joe was the natural choice to take over the reins to begin a partnership which saw him lead Ireland to their first Helvetia Cup win in 1981.
The ever astute Wilkinson had asked Kinkead to join him as he sought to “bring about a more dedicated approach to the international set-up”. In this respect he felt he would prove to be “a most valuable asset” to him when he named him assistant manager as he could “pass on all his experience nurtured over many seasons – a life-time indeed – in the soccer world to mentally and physically prepare the Irish players to win the coveted Helvetia Cup”.
One particular facebook entry from former international Liam McKenna, describes so poignantly just how much loved and appreciated Joe Kinkead really was within the badminton fraternity: ”He took me under his wing from aged 11.
“I loved the man, a gentleman as hard as steel and a warm heart who loved his family.
“I played 52 internationals under the management of the Guvnor!
“My five national titles were because of him and his son Peter and his devoted wife Audrey.
“I cry unashamedly today as a massive influence in my life has gone. he world has lost a great man, and heaven has gained a star signing RIP.”