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PRO Weekly GAA Scene January 30th 2014 2014-01-30 14:57:00

Kerry face Dublin in Croke Park

Following the McGrath Cup action of recent weeks, attention now firmly turns to the Allianz League and Kerry could hardly be faced with a tougher task than taking on the All Ireland champions under lights in their home ground of Croke Park on Saturday evening next at 7pm. No doubt, the magical game between the sides in early September last will be recalled many times before throw-in on Saturday, but these are two different lineouts from that seismic clash. Tomás Ó Sé and Eoin Brosnan have retired of course, Marc Ó Sé and Declan O’Sullivan are on extended breaks until March and April respectively, the Dr Crokes players are club tied, and Darran O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy, and Killian Young are rehabbing after injury.

James O’Donoghue, Pa Kilkenny, Conor Cox and James Walsh are back in contention following action with their Colleges in the McGrath Cup while the likes of Paul Murphy, Barry John Keane, and Stephen O’Brien, who acquitted themselves well in that competition, are retained on the panel. 

Eamonn Fitzmaurice has made no secret of the need for a good start to the League campaign this year but any points garnered in Croke Park on Saturday will be hard earned indeed. The team will be announced on Thursday.

Patrons travelling to Croke Park should note that tickets cost just €10 if purchased in advance and €15 on the day of the match.

Kerry’s remaining League games are as follows: February 9th, Kerry v Derry in Tralee; March 2nd, Mayo v Kerry; March 9th, Kerry v Tyrone in Killarney; March 16th, Kildare v Kerry; March 30th, Westmeath v Kerry; April 6th, Kerry v Cork in Tralee; April 13, Semi finals; April 27th, Final.

Major Change for Supporters at Allianz League Games

The decision by the Croke Park authorities that entry at the stiles in all Allianz League Games is going to be by way of prepaid ticket only will represent a major change for patrons attending games from now on in. Many people are already used to getting their Championship tickets in advance either from their local participating Supervalu or Centra store, on-line from Ticketmaster.ie or from the offices in ASP or the GAA Store in Killarney. 

However, prepaid tickets are to be the norm for all Inter County fixtures at all GAA venues around the country, and are also to be phased in for major county competitions such as County championship. Where tickets are not purchased in advance, they will be available in specially adapted “Bosca Vans” equipped with ticketing facilities - get your ticket at the van and that gets you entry through the stiles. Any concessions for such as OAP, Student etc must produce a valid ID.

Kerry supporters will see this new system in place in the county for the first time for the meeting with Derry in the Allianz League on Sunday week when there will be special vans located adjacent to the ground entrances.

Patrons for that game should also note that there is a great incentive to purchase tickets prior to the day of the game – tickets to all Allianz League games are just €10 if purchased on the lead-in to the game; on the day of the game tickets will cost the full price of €15 so it makes sense to purchase in advance.

So, be prepared in Croke Park on Saturday next and Sunday week in Austin Stack Park!

Mick O’Dwyer emphasises the importance of the Club at Club Forum

The legendary Mick O’Dwyer was the Key Note Speaker at the Kerry GAA Club Forum that took place in the Manor West Hotel Tralee on Saturday where 100 Club and District Officers from all over Kerry attended. The Forum was held in “workshop” format with the Chairmen, Secretaries and Bórd na nÓg Club and District representatives divided into table of 8 to discuss issues that are topical and of major concern to all Clubs right now.

A summary of the main suggestions on each was delivered on the day with a more comprehensive report to follow by the end of February.

Keynote speaker, the legendary Mick O’Dwyer, entered to a standing ovation and had the audience in the palm of his hand as he emphasised the importance of the Club in the GAA. 

“The best enjoyment I got from the GAA was from the early days with my own club Waterville. The Club provided me with the platform to shine and there is nothing more important in the GAA than the Club” he said. 

In a Q&A session that followed, Micko was asked as to what were his “greatest achievements”. He had no doubt;
• Winning the South Kerry Championship with Waterville in 1956
• Winning the 1959 All Ireland (V Galway)
• Defeating Dublin in 1978 after losses to the Dubs in 1976 and ’77.

O’Dwyer finished up to another standing ovation and was presented with a beautiful Black and White framed photograph of his crossing of the Laune Bridge in Killorglin heading South with the Sam Maguire on the roof of the car in 1959.

Keel try again in Club Championship Semi Final

Following the postponement of last Sunday’s semi final in Limerick due to ground conditions, at the second time of asking, Keel continue their quest for a place in the All Ireland Junior Club final on Sunday February 9th when they take on Roscommon champions, Fuerty on this Saturday afternoon at 2pm in Rathkeale.

We wish Keel the very best of luck as they attempt to uphold Kerry’s great record in this competition. Two Mile House of Kildare defeated Emyvale of Monaghan by the minimum margin in the other semi final on Sunday last.

Meanwhile, in the All Ireland senior Club Championship semi-finals Dr Crokes will play Castlebar Mitchels on Saturday February 15th in Portlaoise (3pm) while on the same day, St Vincents will play Ballinderry in Newry (5pm).

Credit Union Senior Football Leagues

This season’s Credit Union County Senior Football League fixtures have been made and were sent out to the Clubs last week. This is the second year of a two year cycle which means that last year’s fixtures – both venue and rounds - are reversed. 

The Keanes Supervalu Killorglin Minor Football League Fixtures were also made last week and forwarded to the Clubs.

Tony O’Keeffe to Chair County Championship Review Committee

At Monday night’s meeting of the county committee, former county secretary, and current chairman of the CCCC in Croke Park, Tony O’Keeffe was been given the task of chairing the committee to be set up to review all aspects of the senior county championship. The Austin Stacks man will be given the terms of reference of the new committee in the near future and it is hoped that their findings will be made available to the county committee in the Autumn. Where regarding of more than one club takes place, then the review has also to be forwarded to the Munster Council for ratification.

New Rules Briefing Sessions Continue

The Mid Kerry and West Kery Boards, in conjunction with the Referees Committee, will hold a briefing session on the new so called Black Card Rules in Killorglin on Tuesday evening next in Kilorglin commencing at 8pm. The information evening is open to all, including Club Officers, Coaches, Players, Referees and Press. A briefing session for South Kerry will be held in Caherciveen on Tuesday 11th February.

Munster Council Convention 

There were a couple of changes following the annual convention of the Munster GAA Council on Friday evening last; Robert Frost from Clare continues in the Chair, Simon Moroney, also from Clare is of course the full time Runaí, while Jerry O’Sullivan from Cork is the Vice Chairman and he will be the next chairman when Robert Frost’s three year term is up in two years time. In the only election of the evening, Tony Walsh of Waterford was elected Treasurer after a three man race and there is also a new PRO in Ger Ryan from Tipperary who takes over from Ed Donnelly. Kerry’s Willie O’Connor was also nominated for PRO but he stepped aside in favour of Ger who was the Tipperary PRO until recently.

Ladies in charge at John Mitchels

Last week we mentioned that the two top positions in Finuge – chairperson and secretary - are occupied by Ladies; well it’s a similar story in John Mitchels where Bríd McElligott is of course the Chairperson, and Claire Connolly is the Runaí. There are a lot of ladies making it to the top table in GAA Clubs right now in an era when it’s becoming more and more difficult for Clubs to get volunteers and it’s going to be very interesting to see the full list when the Eolaire Information booklet is published. 

Munster Scór na nÓg Finals

Congratulations to Spa Set Dancers Áine Brosnan, Rachel Moynihan, Kianan O'Doherty, Eoin O'Donoghue, Gary O'Sullivan, Liam Spillane, Anna O'Connor and Erin Holland, and Allison Fitzmartin also of Spa in the Recitation who were crowned Munster Scór na nÓg champions at Mallow on Sunday last. They have now qualified for the All Ireland Scór na nÓg finals in the Royal Theatre, Castlebar, County Mayo on Saturday March 1st. There was no luck for the other Kerry representatives at the Munster finals, Spa Figure Dancers, Fossa Instrumental Music group, Keel Ballad Group, or Na Gaeil in the Leiriú in a competition dominated by the home county Cork.

Tráth na gCeist: The format for this category was changed this year and the final will be staged on the evening prior to the All Ireland Finals where all 32 Counties will be involved. County champions Spa, namely, Niámh Clifford, Thomas Fleming, James Lynch and Michael Herne will represent Kerry. 

Senior Scór Fixtures

The county final of Scór Sinsir will be held on Saturday 15th March 2014 with the Quiz at 4pm and all other disciplines at 6.30pm. A venue has yet to be decided. Kerry have a bye into the Munster Finals that will take place in Limerick on Saturday 5th April at 6.30pm.


Our sympathy to the relatives of the late Jim Foley of Castlemaine, who passed away in San Diego last week. Jim played on the Kerry Minor team of 1954 along with the likes of Tom Long and Johnny Culloty but immigrated to the U.S.A. before ye could claim a place on the senior team a feat many of his minor colleagues achieved. Kerry’s loss was stateside’s gain as Jim went on to play in six National Football League finals with New York during a glorious period for the team who defeated Dublin in 1964 and Galway in 1967. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Club Championship Draws

The draws for the various Castleisland Mart Club Championships were made at Monday evening’s meeting of the County Committee. Intermediate Club champions, Currow move up to the Senior Club championship replacing Finuge, Junior champions Keel are in the Intermediate Championship replacing Dromid Pearses, and Novice Champions Templenoe move up to the Junior ranks replacing Tuosist. The club to be regraded is decided by the lowest position in the county league.

Shane Hourigan RIP
The Kerry County Committee, at it’s meeting on Monday night extended sympathy to the family of well known referee Shane Hourigan who died tragically on Monday last.

Shane was a member of the Munster and National Referees panels, took charge of many important games at provincial and national level and had a bright future as a referee. A member of the St Mary’s Sean Finns GAA Club in Rathkeale, Shane refereed extensively in Kerry and was in charge of the County Hurling Final replay and as recently as last Wednesday refereed to Corn Uí Mhuirí quarter final between St Brendans College and St Flannans.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Marie, son Shane, mother Ellen and his immediate family.