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PRO GAA Scene June 8th 2016 2016-06-08 20:18:00

Kerry play Clare in Munster GAA Football Championship semi final

Kerry senior Footballers open their Munster and All Ireland senior football campaign on Sunday next with a Munster semi final meeting with Clare in Fitzgerald Stadium (3:30pm). It is hard to believe that nine months have gone by since that painful All Ireland defeat to Dublin and indeed, more psychological damage was inflicted on the Kerry players by the Dubs at the end of April when the Metropolitans repeated the dose in the Allianz League final. It will be interesting to see how Kerry recover form those two body blows.

Not a whole lot has changed since that September defeat in Croke Park. Physical trainer and selector, Cian O’Neill, has moved on to pastures new in Kildare and has been replaced by Padraig McCarthy, while Liam Hassett has been added to the management team as a selector. There has been no mass exodus of experienced players leaving the panel but the management team have called in fresh legs in the form of players like Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), Denis Daly (St Marys), Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle) and Killian Spillane (Templenoe) as well as Marcus Mangan (Milltown-Castlemaine) to the squad. It will be interesting to see how many of these players will break through to the starting fifteen and that issue in itself will occupy the minds of many Kerry supporters over the Summer period.

Team news is that Anthony Maher is back in contention for a place on the starting fifteen after an injury that took longer than expected to heal but Johnny Buckley misses Sunday’s game while Brendan O’Sullivan and Denis Daly are also on the injured list. James O’Donoghue has not resumed full contact activity as yet.

So what of opponents Clare? They were by no means over impressive when defeating Limerick in the semi final a fortnight ago but they do have the benefit of that preliminary round game. Two years ago in Ennis, the Bannermen certainly put it up to Kerry for a long time before the Kingdom finally emerged with a rather flattering four points winning margin. Clare will also be buoyed by that thrilling victory over Kildare in the Allianz League Division 3 final and with nothing to lose and a Munster final place at stake, Clare are sure to make a game of it.

The Kerry team and management returned on Friday last from 5 days in a training camp in the south east of England, and this exercise will no doubt stand to them in the weeks and months ahead. The team to play Clare will be announced on Friday evening at 9pm after training. Referee for Sunday’s game is Fergal Kelly of Longford.

It’s Kerry V Limerick in the Munster Junior Football Semi final

The curtain raiser to the senior game on Sunday will see Kerry Juniors play Limerick in the Munster semi final. Kerry are of course the reigning Munster and All Ireland Junior Champions, and as such, the Kingdom have to field a whole new team this year. In keeping with policy over the last few years, the Kerry management are concentrating mostly on players who have left the U21 ranks in the last year or so making the lineout an U23 team for all intents and purposes.

Manager, Stephen Wallace (Ardfert), and his selectors, Timmy O’Sullivan (Kerins O’Rahillys), P.J. Reidy (Kenmare) and Brian Hickey (Skellig Rangers), have been restricted with the amount of time afforded to them to prepare the squad given the concentration on the senior and club championships over the last two months or so but that situation is par for the course at this level. Opponents, Limerick, have had the very obvious advantage of a game under their belt from the first round when they defeated Clare by 2-13 t0 1-13 at the Gaelic Grounds, but knowing Kerry manager Stephen Wallace, he will no doubt relish this latest challenge on the Kingdom’s home patch of Fitzgerald Stadium.

Throw-in for the game is at 1:30 with James Bermingham of Cork the referee. Cork and Tipperary play in the other semi final with the final fixed for June 30th.

Ticket Arrangements for Sunday’s semi finals

Adult Stand tickets for Sunday’s semi finals cost €15 and have to be pre-purchased in advance from the usual sources; on-line from tickets.ie, Kerry County Committee offices in the Austin Stack Park, the Kerry GAA Store in the Outlet Centre Killarney and from participating Supervalu and Centra stores throughout the county. Juvenile stand tickets costing €5 also have to be pre-purchased. OAP and Students will receive €5 concession with appropriate ID at the designated gates.

Adult Terrace Tickets also cost €15 and should be purchased in advance from the usual sources to avoid congestion outside the ground such as happened in Thurles last year for the Kerry V Tipperary semi final. Ticket vans will be in operation for the purchase of terrace tickets outside the ground but best advice is to pre-purchase. OAP and Students will receive €5 concession with appropriate ID at the designated gates. There is no charge for Juveniles (Under 16) to the Terrace.

Credit Union Senior Football League

June is certainly a busy week for the Credit Union Senior Football Leagues. There are four rounds in a five week period culminating with Round 7 on July 2nd. A decision taken by the Clubs at county committee level last November, means that all rounds of the League have to be completed by the last Sunday in September and that means additional rounds for this time of the year.

Last weekend saw the resumption of the league after an eight week break for senior and club championships fixtures and Round 5 goes ahead this coming weekend with all games, with one or two exceptions, fixed for Saturday at 7pm due to Kerry’s Munster championship game with Clare. The usual Sunday default date does not apply this weekend. A number of games have been deferred by agreement due to the Mick O’Dwyer tournament in Waterville.

In Division 1, Dr Crokes and Templenoe top the table following impressive victories over Kenmare and Dingle respectively last weekend while Dingle, Austin Stacks and Kerins O’Rahillys share third place on 6 points. Kenmare, Legion and Glenbeigh-Glencar remain pointless at the bottom. This weekend there is a big local derby with Dr Crokes hosting Legion (Sunday at 12 noon) but the Austin Stacks V Kerins O’Rahillys game is off. Joint leaders, Templenoe, have Milltown-Castlemaine as visitors.

In Division 2, some teams have played five games while others have played just three but leaders St Marys were caught at home by Beaufort last weekend in a high scoring game and Waterville recorded a good victory over Rathmore to move into joint second place. At the other end of the table, Laune Rangers’ woes continued when they suffered a heavy defeat to Finuge while St Michaels-Foilmore picked up their first point when drawing away to Spa who move up to third in the table. This weekend will see a four pointer at Killorglin where Laune Rangers take on St Micheals-Foilmore, and as neither St Marys nor Waterville are in action, Spa will get a chance to go joint top of the table – provided of course that they get the better of a Listry side who have 5 points from a possible 8. Meanwhile, Rathmore and Glenflesk, together on 4 points, meet in a local derby in Rathmore.

In Division 3, Currow continued their good form with a fine victory over Keel and lead the table on 7 points followed by Gneeveguilla, Ballydonoghue and Annascaul all three of whom recorded victories over St Senans, Dromid Pearses and Brosna respectively last weekend. At the bottom, Ardfert, with two games in hand, and Tarbert are pointless but Ardfert were due to play St Pats on Tuesday evening in a back game. This weekend, Currow play Annascaul in a top of the table clash on Friday evening while Ballydonoghue play Beale in a local derby. Pointless Tarbert have St Pats as visitors and Ardfert are home to Keel. The Gneeveguilla V Dromid Pearses game has been deferred.

In Division 4, Na Gaeil and Fossa top the table on 8 points following impressive victories over Renard and Firies respectively. Ballymac lie in third place following a good victory over Skellig Rangers in Portmagee. Renard and Lispole remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point each. This weekend, the big game is the top of the table clash between Ballymac and Fossa while Na Gaeil are home to Churchill who are in the bottom half of the table. There is a big four pointer in Valentia where the Young Islanders were due to take on neighbours Renard is not going ahead.

In Division 5, there is a three way tie at the top of the table with Castlegregory, Cordal and Rathmore B, who have a game in hand, sharing the lead on 6 points. Castlegregory had a big win over Austin Stacks “B” last weekend while Cordal defeated Knocknagoshel by a point. Tuosist and Sneem-Derrynane who share fourth place in the table, played out a high scoring draw in Tuosist. This coming weekend, the big game is the meeting of joint leaders Cordal and Rathmore “B” while the third team at the top, Castlegregory,

Junior Football Leagues

Round 4 of the Junior Leagues are down for decision this weekend and there are a number of back games to be played, particularly from Round 3 last weekend. In all groups, the top team on points qualifies for final, while 2nd and 3rd placed teams play a semi final with 2nd placed team having home venue.

Hurling News with Tommy O’Connor of the PR & Marketing Committee

Comórtas Poc Fada Chiarraí

Comórtas Poc Fada Chiarraí, the county long puck hurling competition, went ahead very successfully on Kerryhead Mountain on Sunday last. The senior winner was Causeway’s Stephen Murphy while David Silles (Lixnaw) was runner up. The Under 16 winner was Gavin Dooley (Causeway) with Michael Dennehy (Lixnaw) the runner up. In the senior camogie competition Patrice Diggin (Causeway) came first with Sarah Murphy (Causeway) in second place. The under 16 camogie title was won by Caoimhe Shanahan (Lixnaw) with Sinead Coleman (Lixnaw) runner up. The competition was sponsored by the North Kerry Hurling Board and co-ordinated by the Co. Hurling Officer, Gerard McCarthy and John Lucid, Ballyheigue. Also present was Munster Council President, Donie Nealon (Tipperary).

Credit Union Co. League Final 2015

The final of the 2015 Credit Union Co. Senior hurling league between St. Brendan’s and Causeway will take place on Tuesday next, 14th June. Venue is Austin Stack Park where there will be a 7.30p.m. throw in. St. Brendan’s are the current holders of the Nicholas Scollard Cup while Causeway last won it in 2013.

Credit Union Co. Hurling Leagues

Credit Union Division 1 Co. Senior Hurling League results from last week: St. Brendan’s 5 – 20 Crotta 0 – 10; Causeway 4 – 12 Lixnaw 1 – 13 and Ballyduff 3 – 14 Kilmoyley 2 – 9. Following these results the top 3 with 6 points each are St. Brendan’s, Causeway and Abbeydorney. Lixnaw are in fourth position with 5 points.

Division 1 Co. League Round 5 fixtures for this week [the Kilmoyley v Abbeydorney game was to be played on Tuesday evening]; this Wednesday, 8th June, 7.30p.m., Ballyduff are at home to St. Brendan’s [both games doubling up as North Kerry Championship semi-finals].

Sunday, 12th June, 1.00p.m. Causeway v Crotta and Ballyheigue v Lixnaw.

Division 2 fixtures for this Wednesday, 8th June 7.00p.m.: Abbeydorney v Kenmare; Dr. Crokes v Kilgarvan; Causeway v Kilmoyley. Thursday, 9th June, 7.30p.m. St. Brendan’s v Lady’s Walk at Ardfert.

Celtic Challenge U17 Hurling

Playing in Division 2, Kerry had a 2 – 20 to 1 – 17 with over South & East Clare last Saturday in the quarter final of the Under 17 Celtic Challenge competition. The game was played in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick. They are now in this weekend’s semi-final. Fixture details at http://www.gaa.ie/celticchallenge/fixtures

Hurling Cúl Camps 2016

Just a few weeks away now from the 2016 Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps. Kerry hurling camps are: Causeway (4 – 8 July), Lixnaw & Ballyduff (11 -15 July), Ballyheigue & Kenmare (18 - 22 July), Ardfert & Fitzgerald Stadium (25 – 29 July), Abbeydorney (1 – 5 August), Crotta O’Neill’s - Dromakee (8 – 12 August) and Kilmoyley & Tralee Parnell’s - Caherslee (15 – 19 August).

Cost is €55 per child with reductions for additional members of families. Camps are open to primary school children between 6 and 13 years of age. Monday’s to Friday’s, 10.00a.m. – 2.30p.m. daily. Further details at www.kelloggsculcamps.gaa.ie