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PRO GAA Scene 31st January 2013 2013-01-31 21:24:00

McGrath Cup Final

“Job done” would probably be one way of describing Kerry’s McGrath Cup victory over Tipperary in poor conditions in Tipperary Town on Saturday last. With Darran O’Sullivan helping himself to 1-3, Kerry made all the running to run out comfortable winners 1-12 to 1-7. The four games in this competition have been ideal preparation for both management and players ahead of the commencement of the National League on Sunday next. This was Kerry’s fourth final victory in the competition having previously been successful in 1996, 2010 and 2011.

Kerry open their NFL account against Mayo

The competitive season gets underway in earnest on Sunday next when Kerry travel to Castlebar to take on Mayo in the first round of the Allianz Football Leagues. Mayo of course, were defeated finalists in both the League and Championship in 2012, and no doubt with home advantage they will prove formidable opposition for a Kerry side who are still without a number of household names such as Colm Cooper, Eoin Brosnan and Paul Galvin (clubtied with Dr Crokes and Finuge respectively) Kieran Donaghy (honeymoon) and Declan O’Sullivan O’Sullivan, Donnchadh Walsh and David Moran, all recovering from injury. Still Kerry have been up and running in the McGrath Cup for the last four weeks in contrast to a Mayo side who have only recently resumed training and with competition for places sure to be as fierce as ever, Kerry will be very eager to get their campaign off to a winning start. Adding spice to the occasion will be the presence of Kerryman, Donie Buckley on the Mayo sideline and former Mayo trainer Cian O’Neill parading the line for Kerry. Kerry play Dublin in Roud 2 on Sunday week (10th) in Fitzgerald Stadium and there is a break then for third level competitions before they resume with an away fixture in Kildare on March 3rd the first of four League outings during that month.

Kerry Supporters Club will as usual make the journey to Castlebar on Sunday. This is a day trip and bookings must be made from the usual sources not later than this Wednesday 30th January. Bus times are as follows: Farranfore 6:45 a.m.; Tralee 7:00 a.m. and Listowel 7:30 a.m.

GAA Clamp Down On Sideline Numbers

The new regulations from Croke Park drastically limiting access to the sideline on big match days trialed during the recent pre season provincial competitions, will not be welcome news for many team managers and administrators. Following some unruly behavior at club championship matches he attended in the latter end of last year, Uachtarán, Liam O’Neill made no secret of his intention to remedy the situation. However, it is the drastic nature of the cure that has surprised most people with a limit of five officials being allowed on the sideline during the course of a game. Granted, there were excessive numbers of officials allowed access to the sideline previously, but have the GAA gone to the other extreme now? Only the team manager, maor fóirne (a selector), one medical official and two water carriers will be allowed on the sideline during a game from now on. County committee chairman, Patrick O’Sullivan, and Kerry manager, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, as well as some other high profile managers, have expressed their opposition to the new ruling but Croke Park is not for budging on this one. Obviously it will be interesting to see how the logistics of implementing the new regulations will work out. On big match day in Croke Park for instance, the ruling can be easily accommodated, however, at locations such as Tralee’s Austin Stack Park and many other provincial venues, it would be impossible to implement under present infrastructure. Given that the ruling cannot be applied across the board, I am sure we have not heard the last of this issue.

AIB Club Semi Finals

Congratulations to Finuge on their 9 points to 5 victory over Monasterevan in the AIB Club Championship semi final on Sunday last thus setting up a final meeting with Fr Rocks from Cookstown on Saturday February 9th. It will be remembered that the Tyrone side, who count Owen Mulligan amongst their ranks, defeated Spa in the All Ireland final three years ago.
Kenmare meanwhile, are still in with a chance of making it a Kerry double in Croke Park in a fortnights time. After an enthralling encounter that went to extra time, they finished level with Castleknock of Dublin, 0-15 to 1-12. At various stages during this Titanic struggle, the game seemed to be slipping away from the Kenmare men; at other times they seemed to be within seconds of advancing to the final. The replay on Saturday should be no different. Ballinasloe from Galway await the winners.

County Committee Meeting

The first meeting of 2013 of Coiste Chontae Chiarraí due to take place in Austin Stack Park on Monday 28th last did not go ahead due to the adverse weather conditions. The meeting is rescheduled for this Wednesday evening at 8 p.m.

High on the agenda will be the ratification of the major fixtures plan for the year and the draws for the various Castleisland Mart Club Championships.

Munster GAA Club Day

Munster GAA, as part of its commitment to the Clubs of the Province, are hosting an important Club conference and information seminar entitled “2020 Vision, Our Club” in The INEC Centre Killarney on Saturday next February 2nd.

Clubs who are currently involved in our Club Child Development Programme and those who have either developed a 5 year Club plan, or have committed to completing one, have been invited to attend this seminar. Any other Clubs who might wish to attend are asked to contact the County Development Officer – Tim Murphy at developmentofficer.kerry@gaa.ie.

Among the keynote speakers on the day are the one and only Brian Cody, former Meath star Colm O’Rourke and former All Ireland winning manager with Tiperary, Liam Sheedy.

2020 is just a short time away, where does your club see itself in 2020? Is its vision for 2020 built on a progressive and sustainable plan? These are just two of the issues which will be articulated at this important forum which will include facilitated workshops on selected topics. The day will conclude with an open forum session which will provide an opportunity for all to participate.

Referees Courses

There are two major Referees courses being organised by Kerry County Committee in conjunction with the Munster Council – one for serving referees and the other for new referees as follows:

In Service - Existing Referees, all at 7:45 pm;
On Thursday January 31st for Kenmare and East Kerry Divisional Boards in the Dr Crokes Clubhouse.

On Monday February 4th for Mid Kerry, South Kerry and West Kerry in the CYMS Hall Killorglin.

On Wednesday February 6th for North Kerry Hurling and Football, St Brendans and Tralee Divisional Boards in Austin Stack Park.

Foundation Level - New Referees, 4 night course 8 to 10 pm.

On February 13th, 18th, 20th and 25th in All in Austin Stack Park.

Tutors are Pat Sheehy and Denis Richardson.

Kevin Heffernan RIP

The news of the death of Kevin Heffernan after a long illness, though not unexpected, still came as a shock to Kerry’s faithful followers. There is no doubt that the St Vincents man was a legend in his own lifetime. Having been chosen on both the Team of the Century and Team of the Millennium is testament enough to his prowess as a footballer, however, his feat in bringing Dublin from the utter depths of the lower divisions to All Ireland glory far surpasses his playing achievements in my opinion. He did more for the GAA in the capital, at a time when other sporting interests were occupying the minds of the sporting public, than anybody is ever likely to achieve in the future and for that alone, the GAA owes him an enormous debt. We extend the sympathy of all Kerry GAA followers to his family and Club. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

Canon Jackie McKenna RIP

The last surviving member of the team to win Dingle’s first county senior football championship in 1938 has died. Canon Jack McKenna was not only an accomplished sportsman; he was also a historian, scholar and priest who was well known throughout Kerry. Canon Jackie, as he was known, won five county senior football medals with Dingle in the 1930s and 40s. Canon McKenna was president for almost 40 years of Abbeydorney GAA club who organized a guard of honour at his funeral.

Scór na nÓg na Mumhan

Kerry’s representation in the All Ireland Scór na nÓg campaign is down to two following the Munster finals in Mallow on Sunday last. Congratulations to Gearóid Galvin from St Senans who won the Recitation and Spa Set Dancers who were also successful in the Set.
The Spa Figure Dancers and Question Time teams and Keel in the Ballad Group and Solo Singing were unsuccessful as were St Senans in the Novelty Act.
The finals are in Derry this year on Saturday February 23rd

Hurling With Mary Brick

Kerry Senior Hurlers exit Waterford Crystal Cup

Kerry 3- 7 Limerick IT 1- 25

A young Kerry side, fresh from their big win on Sunday evening over IT Tralee, travelled once again to Abbeydorney on Thursday night with high hopes. Despite being competitive, Kerry still trailed 2-3 to 0-13 at halftime. Shane Nolan and Pat Joe Connoly with points, with Darren Dineen adding a goal and a point and Willie O’Dwyer finding the net for Kerry from a free.

In the second half Padraig Boyle scored a brilliant long range goal for Kerry, but they could only manage four more points. Limerick IT added another twelve points, along with a goal, from their livewire corner forward Mike Daffey. The scoreline does not reflect the spirit of this new look Kerry team and there was enough on show on the night to give more than a little hope for the coming season.

Causeway Comprehensive School

Congratulations to the Causeway Comprehensive School Under 16 and a half team who won the Vocational Schools Munster Junior Hurling "A" final on Sunday defeating Coachford Community School, Cork. This is a great achievement for the school as it is their fifth year in a row winning this title. Well done to all involved especially trainer Maurice Leahy, selectors JJ Delaney, Tadhg Flynn and Willie Dowling. The final score was Causeway 4-12; Coachford 1-9.

Tralee Parnells

The Tralee Hurling Academy will restart on Friday evening the 15th of March 2013. The location is the North Campus at IT Tralee, under the lights on the astro turf. All of the players who attended last year are invited to train again this year with the Tralee Parnells hurling coaches.
All children from Under 16 down to Under 6 are welcome. If you do not have your own equipment on the first night, the trainers will have a supply of spare gear, for those trying hurling for the first time.

Condolences: Kerry County Board wish to offer their sincere condolences to the family of Nancy O’ Sullivan Randles sister of Kilgarvan Chairman Tom Randles who recently passed away.

Charity Football Game

There will be a charity challenge game at Austin Stack Park, Tralee on Friday night 15th February 2013 in aid of two cancer services in Kerry, Recovery Haven and the Kerry Cork Healthlink. A selection of the 1990's three in a row winning Sigerson team and guests are playing the current I.T. Tralee Sigerson team. The game will feature such names as Padraig Joyce, Mike Frank Russell, Noel Kennelly, Darragh Ó'Sé. We have been most fortunate to get the Garvey Group and Horan's Fruit and Veg/Health Stores to sell the tickets for the game across the county.Tickets are only 5 euros each, and children under 16 are free.