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PRO GAA Scene January 28th 2015 2015-01-28 23:59:00

 

Kerry take on Mayo in Allianz Football League Opener

With memories of their titanic clashes in the All Ireland semi final draw and replay last August still fresh in the mind, Kerry and Mayo go head to head once more in the opening round of the Allianz Football League in Killarney’s Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday next (2pm).  This if course will be Kerry’s first competitive game on home soil since they annexed their 37th All Ireland title last September but it will be a vastly different Kerry outfit that takes the field on Sunday next.

The Kingdom are shorn of the services of the likes of Brian Kelly, Marc Ó Sé, Aidan O’Mahony, Peter Crowley, James O’Donoghue and Darran O’Sullivan through injury, while Anthony Maher is unavailable for the first two rounds of the League due to work commitments and with their club championship semi final looming, Kieran Donaghy and Shane O’Callaghan are clubtied. On the positive side, Colm Cooper is eying a return to action towards the end of March while Tommy Walsh is training at “full steam”. It is a chance of course for the remainder of the panel to stake a claim for a place on the team and no doubt the likes of Brendan Kealy, Mark Griffin and  Pa Kilkenny , to name but a few, will be chomping at the bit for a slice of the action. Players such as Shane Enright, Michael Geaney, Bryan Sheehan, Barry John Keane and Kieran O’Leary, none of whom started against Donegal, would also be expected to make the line-up on Sunday and they will bring plenty of experience with them.

It is a difficult opener for Kerry but then again, there are no soft teams in Division 1. Mayo, under new management, are bound to have a pep in their step and will no doubt have more pre-season training under their belts. Kerry, in the time available to them since they returned from holiday in South Africa, have knuckled down well in training and had a useful workout against Clare in Tralee on Sunday last. With a big home following to cheer them on, the Kingdom will no doubt give it their all in a bid to reverse the recent trend of Mayo victories between the sides in the League.

Both Kerry and Mayo will be sporting new strips this year and on Sunday, both sides will wear their new alternative strips. The new Kerry “away” strip will be available in the Kerry GAA Store and other outlets in the coming week. A souvenir programme costing €3 will be on sale.  This is the first increase in the price of League Programmes since the introduction of the Euro.

Kerry are away to Derry in Celtic Park on February 8th and there is a break until Round 3 against Dublin in Fitzgerald Stadium on March 1st.

Admission is by Ticket only. Save €5 - Buy your Ticket in advance!

Once again this year there is a €5 pre-purchase discount (€10 pre-purchase and €15 on match day) for all Division 1 Allianz Football League fixtures. The deal will offer supporters better value and also take some of the pressure off ticket sales at the various venues on match days. One key point to note is that this discount is only valid until midnight on the day before each fixture. Tickets will be available at all the usual outlets such as participating Centra and Supervalu stores nationwide and at tickets.ie

Admission on Sunday is by ticket only and is the same for both stand and terrace.  Admission to the stand is on a first come first served basis. Ticket vans will be located in Lewis Road and the Daltons Avenue entrances to the ground.

All Ireland Club Championship Semi Finals

Ardfert are through to their second Intermediate Final

Down through the last decade, Ardfert teams have been renowned for their heart and spirit in adversity and those credentials were very much in evidence once again at Portlaoise on Sunday last when they qualified for the All Ireland Intermediate Final in Croke Park on Valentine’s Day with a thrilling one point victory over hot favourites Warrenpoint from Down (1-8 to 0-10). With their Down county player, Ross McGarry in fine form, the northerners enjoyed the better of the opening quarter but in a tight game, a goal is always worth its weight in gold and John Egan’s major just before the break was a huge tonic for the Kerry side who led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval.

Ardfert survived a torrid test of their character during the third quarter to emerge with that goal lead still intact with ten to go, but when the northerners struck two fine points is as many minutes as the clock ran down, , Ardfert’s backs were to the wall. If there was anyone you would put your money on to survive such white hot heat, it is Ardfert and they held on though the referee’s whistle must have come as sweet music to their ears.

Ardfert are now back in the Intermediate final for the first time since 2007 and their opponents will be St Croans of Roscommon who defeated Sean O’Mahonys of Louth in the other semi final by 0-14 to 2-7.

Brosna must do it all again as Junior semi final ends in a draw

Brosna had to recover from an early deficit against Rock St Pats of Tyrone to keep their hopes alive of reaching a first Junior All Ireland Football Final after an exciting 80 minutes of play in Ballinasloe where extra time failed to separate the sides (0-10 to 1-7). Four points down within as many minutes in what turned out to be a low scoring game, looked like an uphill battle for the Kerry champions but at least that deficit did not get any bigger and that same margin still separated the sides at the break (1-4 to 0-3).

Wind assisted, Brosna did slowly find their range in the second half but still trailed by three with ten minutes to play. Adam Barry and Tom McGoldrick pointed to leave the minimum between the sides and in a hectic finish, Barry slipped over the equaliser just in time to force the game into extra time (0-9 to 1-6).

In the 20 minutes extra time played, both sides recorded just a point apiece and  the sides finished  all square, 0-10 to 1-7.

The replay will go ahead next Sunday, again in Ballinasloe with a 2pm throw-in time. John Mitchels of Liverpool are through to the final following a 1-9 to 1-6 victory over Moate All Whites.

Valentia are Munster Junior B Champions

After a slow start that saw them 3 points to 1 in arrears against Limerick representatives Kildimo early on, Kerry Novice Shield winners, Valentia, recovered to be crowned Munster Junior B Champions at Knockaderry in South Limerick on Sunday last (0-12 to 1-8). The home side led by 5 points to 4 at the break but a succession of points from their captain and man of the match Brendan O’Sullivan, and John Shanahan had them leading by 12 points to 8 in injury time before Peter Nash ensured an exciting finish when he crashed a free to the net to reduce the lead to the minimum but Valentia, whose ability to field a team was in doubt just a year ago, held on for a deserved victory. This competition does not advance beyond provincial level.

Credit Union SFL Draw

That draw for the new cycle of fixtures in the Credit Union Senior Football League was made last week and has been circulated to the clubs. It may also be viewed on the News section of the Kerry GAA Website. The Round 4 Division 1 game on May 10th between Austin Stacks and Dr Crokes will double up as the 2014 Division 1 Final.

Round 1 of the League is pencilled in for March 22. Three rounds of the League will be played before the commencement of the Club Championship.

Kerry Under 21 Footballers defeat Monaghan in Hastings Cup Plate Semi Final

Kerry Under 21 Footballers continued their preparations for the Munster Football Championship meeting with either Limerick or Cork on March 18th by defeating Monaghan in the Plate semi final of the Hastings Cup at Emo Co Laois on  Saturday last. A Goal from Jack Barry saw Kerry lead by 1-5 to 0-4 at the break and two further goals at the three quarter stage from Cillian Fitzgerald and Dara Roche set Kerry up for a 3-12 to 0-8 victory. The other semi final between Laois and Tipperary was not played.

Kerry GAA Supporters Celebrate Silver Jubilee

The Kerry GAA Supporters Club celebrated their silver jubilee in style at the Ballygarry House Hotel Tralee on Saturday evening last in the company of the Sam Maguire, the Tom Markham and the Minor B Hurling Cups along with a host of stars from the Kerry GAA Fields both hurling and Football. The chairman of the county committee, Patrick O’Sullivan, thanked the club for their support as well as for their continued financial assistance.

 Both senior and minor football managers, Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Jack O’Connor respectively, were high in their praise for the unwavering support they receive from members of the supporters club on match day, regardless of the location of the venue.

Fitzmaurice recalled the day in Ballybofey last year when Kerry had slumped to their 4th League defeat on the trot, which he described as the low water mark of his management career. The team however were applauded onto the team bus following the games as the Kerry Supporters who travelled once again gave their “unconditional support”.  Likewise, Jack recalled the day back in 2009 when Kerry faced Antrim in Tullamore – a difficult assignment at that time – and will for ever remember the big Kerry support that travelled and the lift that gave the team, helping them to go on and defeat Dublin and eventually bring sam back for a 36th time.

Hurling Officer, Ger McCarthy, also thanked the supporters for their support of the Kerry hurlers and vowed that the Christy Ring would be at next year’s social. Presentations were made to the three winning managers, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Jack O’Connor and Ian Brick, to the three captains, Kieran O’Leary, Liam Kearney and Fionán MacKessy, and to the eight Kerry All Stars, Paul Murphy, James O’Donoghue, David Moran, Peter Crowley and Kieran Donaghy (Football) and Daniel Collins, Bryan Murphy and Padraig Boyle (Christy Ring Hurling).

New Referees Course

A four-night Foundation Level Course for all new Referees will be held in Austin Stack Park  beginning on February 9th for four nights as follows:

Monday 9th February, Wed 11th, Monday 16th and Wednesday 18th February commencing at 7:30 sharp each night.

Any queries please contact Referees Committee Chairman Joe Langan @ 087 6677146​or secretary Richard Fitzgerald @ 087 6524954.

Gaeltacht Scholarships

Applications for Gaeltacht Scholarships are now available from District Board Secretaries. Preference will be given to Clubs who have a Cultural Officer elected to their Executive and who have participated in Scór this year. Closing Date is March 31st.

Paidí Ó Sé Concert

The INEC in Killarney is the place to be on this Friday evening for the big fundraising concert featuring Muintir Bheaglaioch (The Begley Family) with Steve Cooney and many  friends all in support of a fundraising drive to erect a statue in honour of that great son of West Kerry, the late great  Paidí Ó Sé.  Tickets are available from Ticketmaster or from the INEC Box Office. This is a venture well worth supporting.

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

Kerry Minor Hurlers will play in Leinster Minor League

The Kerry minor hurlers have been accepted into the 2015 Leinster Minor Hurling League. This is an important development for the minor team as it will give them early season matches and it has been welcomed by Co. Hurling Officer, Gerard McCarthy, who has expressed his gratitude to the Leinster Council, G.A.A. for facilitating Kerry. 11 teams will compete in 3 groups and Kerry are in Group 3 where they will meet Wicklow (Saturday, 7th March), Meath (Saturday, 14th March) and Offaly (Saturday, 21st March). All games are away and will commence at 2.30p.m. If they progress the semi-final will be on 28th March.

As minor county champions Lixnaw will provide the captaincy during 2015 and they have nominated David Silles as captain for the Todd Nolan Tournament and Leinster League while John Buckley will captain the team for the All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ Championship.

Fixtures Plan

At a series of meetings last week, a masters hurling fixture schedule for the year was agreed. Key dates include the Christy Ring Cup final on Saturday, 6 June; the Allianz League Division 2A final is scheduled for Saturday, 4 April; the first competition in the county will be the North Kerry intermediate league to be played on weekends, commencing 14 February. The county senior hurling championship will retain the same format as last year and round 1 will be on the weekend of 18 July with the county final on Sunday, 27 September. Full details will be sent out to clubs shortly.

At minor level for 2015, Ballyduff will amalgamate with Causeway and Kilmoyley will amalgamate with Abbeydorney. Tralee Parnell’s will compete in both the county and North Kerry minor leagues.

Club Scene

Kilmoyley Hurling Club held a very successful 53rd annual social last Friday. The first ever Hall of Fame Award presented by the club went to Den Young while the guests of honour were members of the Kilmoyley team that won the 1974 North Kerry under 21 championship.

Tralee Parnell’s have commenced underage hurling sessions at Tralee Sports Complex – Under 8 and 10 on Tuesdays between 7.00p.m. and 8.00p.m. and Under 16 & minors on Fridays.  All new players are welcome to come along and give it try. Advance notice that on Friday, 27th February, Parnell’s will hold a Forum on the way forward for juvenile hurling and camogie in Kerry.

The Lady’s Walk Hurling Club A.G.M. will take place on Friday, 6th February. The club will celebrate its golden jubilee during 2015. Having initially been founded in the 1940’s, it ceased to function for several years before being re-organised in 1965.