When it comes to Cayman’s sportiest family, the Kehoes must figure in anybody’s short list.
Mick plays rugby, football and Gaelic football and his wife Lisa is a road runner specializing in Gaelic football, touch rugby and netball. Their daughter Molly, 10, and son Tommy, 12, seem to be brilliant at virtually every sport on the Olympic list.
In every road race, Lisa is invariably on the fastest women’s team. The last time was in Off The Beaten Track, when, as a sixth of the Girls in Limbo, they comfortably won the title again.
Road running socially with her buddies is far more fun than pounding the roads by herself, Kehoe said. For her, the early mornings are a great way to wake up, catch up and feel good for the rest of the day.
Evenings and weekends bring Gaelic football because “it’s competitive, fast and fun. I probably love this sport the best.”
Touch rugby is for conditioning and the social aspect. “Netball has a great group of girls, and it is also excellent fitness. I just wish the league was played over a longer period.”
In the past, Kehoe has also played squash, tried basketball, flag football and indoor football, “but figured out not everyone can be good at all sports. I’ll leave the football to my kids.” Not a bad sporting resume for a 43-year-old secretary.
She no longer plays full-contact rugby because she needed brain surgery last November, and is extremely grateful to Dr. Lowell D. Stanley for her treatment.
Kehoe’s sporting highlights always go back to rugby and the eventful trips they had around the Caribbean, U.S. and Canada.
“Had I still been playing contact rugby, there would have been a possibility of me making the Cayman 7s team, who might actually make it to the Olympics,” she said.
“I wish all my rugby girls good luck in getting there. Maybe I’ll make it with them as their manager …”
Returning to sports has been challenging for Kehoe and far too slow for her liking, but now finally all is going well.
“If you see a twit in a scrum cap running around the Gaelic or touch pitch or netball courts, that’ll be me!”
She now needs to start some strength training, which is intended to get her running speed up to her usual standard.
She thanked her running partners “for sticking with me through my slow few months.”
She said Mick has had to slow down with his rugby career, “due to age and a bad back.”
She added, “He is now very active with refereeing any sport he knows, a thankless task. He is a menace – to some – always with a whistle in his hand.”
Her sporting heroes, she said, are a cliche – her kids.
“They keep going despite scrapes, bruises, black eyes and sore muscles and they rarely take a day off sports out of their own choice,” she said. “They are amazing.”
They both mainly play roller hockey, football and rugby.
Mum loves to watch their games, particularly roller hockey for its speed and excitement. Tommy is also just picking up flag football and already has scored touchdowns in his first couple of games.
Tommy’s passion is rugby and Molly’s is football. Tommy would love to play Gaelic football for kids, which his parents hope to introduce here in the future.
Both children have won awards for a variety of things. Molly’s most recent one was for being the youngest competitor – and faster than most adults – in the Cross Island Relay.
She was also recognized as one of six “standouts” out of 150 kids in the Swindon Town soccer camp at the TE McField Annex in February.
“At international football or rugby matches here, my two can always be found as ball boy or girl on the side of the pitch. They love to be involved,” Lisa said.
For the Kehoes, the Cayman sporting scene is utopia. “If anyone in Cayman says they’ve nothing to do, just choose a sport and have a go. There are so many to choose from and at so many different levels and locations.”
Lisa Kehoe is glad that football for girls is finally on the rise. There is a well-run Under-16s league, and with the excellent work Sunset is doing with the girls on a Saturday morning at Camana Bay, as well as the Cayman Islands Football Association’s efforts to promote girls playing the game, she hopes that U-12 and U14 leagues are soon formed.
As for rugby, there is also an annual tour to the Bahamas which about 60 Cayman children attend, a great experience for them. “My two love going on that trip with their dad,” she said. “He is one of the organizers and a junior coach.”
Cayman’s emerging sporting tourism industry is developing nicely, but Lisa Kehoe feels hotels need to give much better rates to teams interested in coming over.
“I’m sure a lot more sports teams would come if they had cheaper places to stay. It would also broaden the scope for competition for Caymanians, which improves the standard for any sport.”
At times, meeting all the schedules for the Kehoes can be really demanding. She said, “To juggle our busy sporting schedule, we often eat dinner and change into different sports clothes while in the car.”
On any given night, they could be playing four sports in four locations.
“Thanks to many good friends and coaches, we manage to get us all in the right place at the right time.”
Lisa Kehoe’s last run was the Colour Me Purple 5K for Honoring Women Month on Sunday. “I believe they had over 300 people running or walking, most of whom ended up being covered in purple powder. It was quite a sight,” she said. All funds raised support empowerment programs for women and youth in the community.
Internationally, the family’s next big event is the kids’ roller hockey tournament in Fort Myers, Florida, just after Easter, a qualifier for the North American Roller Hockey Championships finals in July.
Cayman is taking four teams, and they will also get to see an NHL game while in Tampa.
“Then I’m hoping my next traveling sports event will be this year’s Gaelic football tour in September.”