Furlong was carrying a white flag but, whether intentionally or in the confusion of battle, he was shot dead by the British before he could deliver his message.
Kelly and his advance guard saw this and, incensed, they launched an advance attack. Harvey had earlier instructed Kelly to seize the entrance into the town known as the Three Bullet Gate.
He was supposed to wait for reinforcements before advancing into the town as part of a co-ordinated attack.
Cattle were driven through town to cause chaos
The rebels took the gate but then, whether because they were incensed by the shooting of Furlong or because of some misunderstanding, they didn’t wait for reinforcements but advanced through the town instead, driving cattle before them causing confusion.
The main rebel forces also attacked and managed to seize more than half the town before they started to run out of ammunition and had to rely on pikes alone.
The British were able to rally and eventually drove the rebels from the town.
Rebels and civilians burned alive
The battle was followed by a massacre of rebel prisoners and civilians that lasted for several days.
British troops torched rebel casualty camps and hundreds of people were burned alive.
It’s thought that more rebels were killed in the days after the battle than during the battle itself.
Kelly captured and executed
Kelly was wounded in the leg during the fighting but managed to escape back to Wexford town.
He went into hiding to recuperate but was betrayed by loyalist informers and captured when the town was retaken by the British. He was hanged on Wexford Bridge.
He was then decapitated and his head was placed on a spike outside the courthouse, along with other rebel leaders.
Kelly the Boy From Killane
Kelly clearly played a major role in the rebellion in Wexford but little is known of him and his name might well have been forgotten if not for the song Kelly the Boy From Killane.
Thanks to that song written by P J McCall more than 100 years after the rebellion took place, Kelly is remembered, albeit in a rather romanticised way.