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PRO GAA Scene January 25th 2017 2017-01-25 19:45:00

Aidan O’Mahony bids adieu to the intercounty scene

Another link in the chain of the Kerry teams that contested six All Irelands on the trot and nine in all, is gone as Aidan O’Mahony, an ever present on those teams, called a halt to his intercounty footballing career on Monday last. The teak tough Rathmore defender bowed out having played 70 championship games for his county and a whopping 155 appearances in all when League games are taken into consideration.  He will look back with pride on a career that saw him win five Celtic crosses, three National Leagues and a couple of All Star awards.

The Shrone native always had tremendous pride in the Kerry jersey and his commitment and fearless attitude endeared him to all Kerry GAA supporters over a career that stretched to fourteen years. However, time waits for no man and like many sterling Kerry footballers before him, he has to hand on the jersey to a new generation of Kerry footballers coming up through the ranks.

“It’s been an absolute honour for me to wear the green and gold jersey for Kerry for the past 14 years at senior level” he said on Monday. “I leave having great respect for all the talented players I have shared my footballing career with. I am extremely grateful for all the support my teammates gave me down through the years and I have made friendships for life”.

The many tributes that have been penned since his announcement are testament to the respect in which O’Mahony was held. Kerry manager, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, led those tributes: “Over the years he has played in every defensive position for Kerry and performed every role to distinction from man marker to attacking half back, from a holding centre back to a sweeper in recent years. He was the ultimate pro in terms of the way he prepared himself for training and matches on and off the field” Echoing the sentiments of many, Fitzmaurice made special mention of his leadership skills:

“He led by example and was a driving force in the gym and on the pitch. …..His leadership was of particular importance in the last few years as a lot of younger players have been integrated into the panel”.

Eamonn’s predecessor, Jack O’Connor was no less fulsome in his praise of the man he introduced to the Kerry senior team in 2004; “Aidan had a great temperament for the big day and he marked some of the best forwards in the country over the years…….. His aggression and never say die attitude was an inspiration to those around him”.

His fellow players chipped in with the plaudits as well led by his great companion and fellow defensive warrior, Marc Ó Sé; “In an amateur game he was the most professional player I ever played with” was the Gaeltacht man’s summation. That remark was of course a reference to the tremendous physical condition which O’Mahony maintained throughout his career and that physical condition could be seen as late as a few weeks before Christmas when he led Rathmore to East Kerry O’Donoghue Cup victory over no less a side than All Ireland semi finalists Dr Crokes being named as the player of the tournament just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s hard to believe that Aidan O’Mahony will not be gracing the sod of Fitzgerald Stadium or Croke Park or any other intercounty GAA arena in the coming season but as he himself aptly put it on Monday last “Today is the beginning of something new!!!”

On behalf of Kerry GAA supporters in Kerry and beyond all that is left to say is “Thanks for all the memories Aidan and the very best of luck to you and Denise in the future”.


Kerry Senior Footballers claim McGrath Cup victory over Limerick

Kerry senior footballers had a very good workout in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Sunday last when getting the better of a plucky home side with the benefit of extra time (3-13 to 2-12) to claim the McGrath Cup. Eamonn Fitzmaurice used the occasion to blood some new players – in all twenty four players saw action on the day - and must have been pleased with the performances put in by some of these, especially Jason Foley in defence.

So now Kerry footballers have a two week break before they open their Allianz Football League campaign with a long away trip to Letterkenny on Sunday week.

The remaining League games are home to Mayo in Austin Stack Park on February 11th under lights; home to Monaghan in Fitzgerald Stadium on February 26th; away to Roscommon on March 5th and then after a two week break, three games on the trot starting with a home game against Dublin in Austin Stack Park under lights on March 18th; away to Cavan in Breffni Park on March 26th and home to Tyrone in Fitzgerald Stadium on April 2nd. The final is fixed for April 9th.


Kerry GAA Club Forum

The Kerry GAA Club Forum held in the Rose Hotel Tralee on Saturday last was generally declared a success. Despite the fact that that there was a club representation of just under 60%, there was a wide representation of Clubs present. The main aim of the Forum was to gauge the problems being experienced by the clubs, particularly in relation to rural depopulation and by the same token the migration of people to the bigger urban areas in the county.  It was a little disappointing therefore that some of the clubs most affected by these issues were not present but as already stated, the organisers, under the stewardship of Joe Crowley, expressed their overall satisfaction with the exercise given the diverse range of clubs and opinions.

The Parish rule got an overwhelming endorsement from the clubs present and the role of the Club in the community, both urban and rural, was highlighted time and again. Rural clubs in particular emphasised the importance of maintaining their identity particularly with some faced with the prospect of team amalgamating or even worse, in years to come, Club amalgamation. Proper registration of players to ensure that a player is in fact eligible to play with a club was an ongoing issue it was felt.

It was felt that strict planning regulations in rural areas was forcing families to migrate to the large urban centres and towns and the clubs in those areas faced far different problems coping with the increase of numbers at juvenile level. Getting sufficient coaches was a growing problem in these areas with the subsequent drop off in the numbers playing as juveniles progressed upwards to Minor ranks. It was also felt that there was a very high percentage of pupils attending national schools who have no background in GAA and this may not come as a huge surprise given the ever changing society that we live in.

The issues highlighted and other information gained from the forum will now be collaborated and the finding will be laid before a meeting of the County Board at a future date.


Kerry Clubs in All Ireland Club Semi final action on Sunday next

Sunday next is a big day in the histories of both Kenmare and Glenbeigh-Glencar when they are involved in the All Ireland Club semi finals as part of a double header against Mayo Clubs in Cusack Park in Ennis.

County Junior champions, Glenbeigh-Glencar are the first in action when they take on Louisburgh at 12:30 and of course Kerry clubs have a strong record in this competition with Brosna and Templenoe winning the last two titles. The fact that the Mid Kerry club plays out of Division 1 of the Senior Football League here in Kerry, rubbing shoulders with the best around on a regular basis, must stand to Glenbeigh-Glencar in their quest to advance to the final,  but championship football, as the red and black jersey side know only all too well, is all about performing on the day. Only a sixty minute performance to the standard we know they are capable of will see Glenbeigh-Glencar fly the Kerry flag once more on February 19th. Dunedin Connollys (Edinburgh) and Rock St Patricks of Tyrone meet in the other semi final in the Athletic Grounds in Armagh.

The second semi final at the Clare venue (2:15)  will pit Kenmare Shamrocks against another Mayo outfit, Westport who of course have the likes of Lee Keegan in their ranks. Kenmare have certainly been impressive in their run through both Kerry and Munster and of course have the advantage of having experience of playing in All Ireland Club semi finals before. They have an impressive strike force but then Lee Keegan is no shrinking violet and no doubt Kenmare will face a torrid test of their current well being. Again, Kerry are the title holders in this competition for the past two years with Ardfert and St Marys successful in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Let’s hope that Kenmare carry on that tradition on Sunday and qualify for another final. The other semi final is between Pomeroy Plunketts of Tyrone and Meath club, St Colmcilles which is part of another double header in Armagh.


Kerry GAA Supporters Club Social

The Kerry GAA Supporters Club annual social in the Ballygarry House Hotel in Tralee on their Saturday night promises to be another night to remember. It’s not always that you get former players of the calibre of Darragh, Tomás and Marc Ó Sé being honoured on the one stage together but such is the case on Saturday night when the three An Ghaeltacht brothers will be guests of honour on the evening. Whichever way you look at them, either individually or collectively, these three warriors have won everything possible that the game of football has to offer including a collective haul of 12 All Stars and 16 All Ireland senior medals between them. As siblings, 2007 must stand out apart when the three of them played on a winning All Ireland team together and were subsequently honoured with All Stars.

Other guests on the night will include minor football winning captain, Sean O’Shea, minor hurling captain Shane Conway and junior football captain Paul O’Donoghue along with the respective team managers and 2016 All-Star, Paul Geaney. Music is by Neily O’Connor.


David Clifford is new Kerry Minor Captain

David Clifford of Fossa has been named as the new Kerry Minor captain for the coming year having been nominated by County Minor champions, East Kerry. We wish David wells as Kerry set out to defend their All Ireland crown.


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

Kerry Hurlers go down to Limerick

Kerry were defeated by Limerick on a score of 4-28 to 0-16 in their latest Coopsuperstores.ie Munster Senior Hurling League game at Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds on Sunday last. Kerry got off to a slow start but the concession of three goals just before the break left them with a mountain to climb in the second half. The Kingdom side improved on the turnover with some spirited play and some fine scores from play but Limerick ran out easy winners.

There has been a change of date and venue for the Kerry’s Round 5 Co-Op Munster senior league game this week. The game will now be played at Dungarvan on this Saturday (Waterford travelled to Kerry for the corresponding fixture last year), with an early throw in time of 12.30p.m.

This will be the last competitive game before the Allianz Hurling League campaign, which commences on Sunday, 12th February at home to Laois. Three of their five league games, including the final two, will be in Tralee, with games against Galway on 12th March and Offaly on 26th March. In between they will be away to Limerick on 19th February and Wexford on 5th March.


Leinster Senior Hurling Championship – Round Robin series

Fixtures have been made for the round robin series of the 2017 Leinster senior hurling championship which involves Kerry, Meath, Westmeath and Laois. The first Kerry game will be away to Meath at Páirc Tailteann in Navan on Sunday, 23rd April; In Round 2  Kerry play Westmeath at Cusack Park, Mullingar on Sunday, 30th April and in Round 3 they meet Laois at Austin Stack Park on Sunday, 14th May. The top-two teams from the round-robin will progress to the Leinster quarter-finals against Offaly or Wexford on the weekend of 27/28 May. Full details at www.leinstergaa.ie


Minor Hurling

Kerry will again this year compete in the Leinster Minor Hurling League which commences on Saturday, 4th March. They have been drawn in a group with Laois and Wicklow with the possibility of progressing to either the Shield or Cup knockout stage. No fixtures have been made for the All-Ireland Minor B Hurling Championship so far this year. The 2017 minor team management is: Manager - John Hennessy (Ballyduff); Trainer - John Barry (St. Senan’s); Selectors - Jerome O’Sullivan (Crotta), Eamon Fitzgerald (Causeway) and John Healy (Ballyheigue);

The Celtic Challenge Under 17 competition will be played on Wednesdays during May. The management team for this side will be: Manager - Giles O’Grady (Ballyduff); Selectors - Paul O’Donoghue (Crotta O’Neill’s), David Brick (Tralee Parnell’s) and David O’Dea (GDA) who is also the co-ordinator for the team.


Clubs

Crotta O’Neill’s Hurling Club will hold a victory social on Friday, 4 February at Ballyroe Heights Hotel to mark their 2016 Co. Minor Hurling Championship win. Guest of Honour will be the Waterford senior hurling manager, Derek McGrath. The team that won the 1992 Co. Under 21 Co. Championship will also be honoured on the night. Tickets available at local outlets. The club has also re-designed their website which can be viewed at www.crottagaa.club  The Austin Stacks senior hurlers awards presentation will also be held in their Clubhouse that night.

The St. Brendan's Hurling Club Annual Convention will take place on this Friday, 27 January 2017 at 8.00p.m. at Ardfert N.S. while Tralee Parnell’s Under 8 & 10 hurling coaching will commence at Tralee Sports Complex on Tuesday, 7 February from 6.00 to 7.00 pm.


SCÓR CHIARRAÍ
A notice to all nine District Boards within the County that if you are participating in Coiste Scór Sinsir you are requested to have your District Finals completed by Sunday February 5th and names of all those going forward along with registration numbers returned to Scór Secretary, Suzanne Ni Laoire not later than Sunday February 5th.

Cultural Officers of all Clubs are asked to make a special effort to make sure that your Club will be involved in Senior County Scór by taking part in the following categories; Figure Dancing, Solo Singing, Recitation, Ballad Group, Leiriu, (Novelty), Instrumental Music and Set Dancing.

Down through the years Scór in Kerry was well up there with all other counties winning numerous All Ireland titles in many of the disciplines; however with the past number of years Senior Scor in the County has gone into decline so hopefully for 2017 that this can be rectified.

The County Finals of Scór Sinsir sponsored by Estuary Print, Ballylongford will be held in the Muire Gan Smal Presentation Primary School Castleisland on Saturday February 18th commencing at 8pm with the
Quiz County Final at the same venue with a starting time of 6pm sharp.