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Celtic to play Finn Harps in John Kennedy Testimonial

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John Kennedy

John Kennedy’s Testimonial will kick off next month with a match between Celtic and Finn Harps at Ballybofey.

Neil Lennon will take the Celtic first team to Donegal on Sunday November 28 with most of the proceeds from the match going to local charities.

After the match there will be a gala dinner in Letterkenny with the full Celtic party attending.

Testimonial Chairman Stevie Kilcoyne said: “It’s great to be involved in taking Celtic over to Donegal and important that local charities will benefit.

“John’s career was tragically cut short by injury, he fully deserves a testimonial and this match will be the first of a few events for his testimonial.”

A match will also be arranged at Celtic Park with March the likely date.

Finn Harps manager James Gallagher was a team-mate of Kennedy’s in the Celtic youth side with the match certain to fill Finn Park.

The match will be the first time that Celtic senior squad has played in Ireland since facing Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers on successive days in July 2002.

Kennedy’s career seemed destined for the top when he helped Celtic to a 0-0 draw away to Barcelona in March 2004 which  took O’Neill’s side into the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup.

After starring in a derby win over Rangers at Ibrox three days later his career was virtually ended by a vicious assault from former Wolves striker Ioan Ganea just 18 minutes into his Scotland debut.

Three knee operations performed by Colorado based specialist Richard Steadman- who had saved the careers of Alan Shearer, Larsson and Ruud van Nistelrooy- gave Kennedy hope that his career could be saved.

He made an emotional return to the Celtic first team in April 2007 at Kilmarnock when a last minute free-kick from Shunsuke Nakamura clinched the SPL title for Gordon Strachan’s side.

Kennedy went on to make 14 appearances for Celtic the following season but after picking up another knee injury against Shakhtar Donetsk which ended his season.

In August 2008 he moved on loan to Norwich City where he made 15 appearances before picking up another injury and making the decision to retire rather than risk permanent damage through further surgery.

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