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PRO GAA Scene January 20th 2016 2016-01-20 20:42:00

Kerry overcome Tipperary in the McGrath Cup
Kerry made the trip to Tipperary Town a fruitful one when defeating Tipperary by 0-16 to 0-10 in the McGrath Cup on Sunday last. . Eleven of the match day squad for last year’s All Ireland Final were on duty on the day with nine of those starting. With Clare having won both of their games in the Group, neither Kerry nor Tipperary were in a position to advance to the final.

So now it’s on to the Allianz Football Leagues which begins with a visit to Croke Park to take on the All Ireland Champions, Dublin on Saturday week (30th January). The Kerry panel for the first two games (they play Roscommon on February 7th in Fitzgerald Stadium) will include a number of newcomers. Among those will be former minors Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht) and Tom O’Sullivan of Dingle. Eamonn Fitzmaurice has also clarified the position with regard to the expected return date for some of the injured absentees; Colm Cooper is due back in training before the Dublin game, in March the likes of Kieran O’Leary, the Geaneys, Paul and Mikey, Anthony Maher and Peter Crowley are due back while James O’Donoghue is expected to return sometime in April.

After the home game with Roscommon, there is a three week break and then you have three games in successive weekends against Down (A), Donegal (Austin Stack Park) and Mayo (A), and following a two week break Kerry finish up with Monaghan (A) and Cork at home.

Tickets for The Allianz Leagues are on sale!

Tickets are now on sale for the Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues at a pre purchase discounted price of €10 for Kerry’s games in Division 1 Football and Division 1B in Hurling. Please note that the cut off time for the pre-purchase discount will be midnight on the night before the fixture (Tickets on match day will be the usual €15).

Kerry of course are stepping up a Division for the Hurling League this year with the likes of Limerick, Wexford and Offaly as visitors to the Kingdom and admission prices are higher – so its €10 if you buy in advance for both football and hurling

Tickets will be available from the usual sources including participating Centra and Supervalu stores throughout the county and from the Kerry GAA Store in the Outlook Centre in Killarney. It is also hoped to also have a link available on the Kerry GAA Website to purchase tickets.

The GAA Season Tickets are still on sale from Croke Park and renewals are on-going until 31st January.

Kerry GAA Supporters Bus to Croke Park
Kerry GAA Supporters club will take buses to Dublin for AFL on Saturday January 30th. This isa day trip only and all seats must be booked by Wednesday 27th. Bus times are as follows: Farranfore 10am; Tralee 10.30 and Listowel 11am. For bookings contact; Donal O'Leary 064 58099, John King 066 7124229 and Martin Leane 087 2452901.

New AFL Gear available in Kerry GAA Store

The official Kerry GAA Allianz League gear is now available at the Kerry GAA Store in the Outlet Centre Killarney and on line.

St Marys and Templenoe are in All Ireland Club semi final action this weekend
Kerry and Munster club champions St Marys and Templenoe are in All Ireland Club semi final action this weekend when both take on neighbouring Meath opposition at different Limerick venues on Sunday next. This would have made the perfect double bill had the weather been a bit kinder.

St Marys were tested on many occasions during their tremendous run in the Intermediate campaign, both in Kerry and in Munster, and there is no doubt that they face a mammoth task when they come face to face with Meath and Leinster champions Ratoath at the Gaelic Grounds.

The Cahersiveen side played four games on their way to the Kerry title including an extra time thriller with Desmonds, and a final against Spa where they looked the better side for long periods but failed to put that dominance on the scoreboard. In the Munster campaign, they struggled against Upperchurch-Drombane of Tipperary before demolishing the Clare representatives and winning well in the end against Carrigaline of Cork in the Munster Final. That game of course was back at the end of November and they have been in constant action since then at County League and Divisional level. It remains to be seen if all that activity has been a help or a hindrance. Ratoath have been very impressive on their way to the semi final and have been posting big scores in all their games to date. They have a number of the Meath senior panel in their ranks and there is no doubt that they will test St Marys to the limit.

Templenoe are arguably the most impressive Junior Championship winners in Kerry for quite a while. They won all four games in Kerry by six points or more and got a good test from Bandon of Cork in Munster before winning by three points. A youthful side, they play a very attractive brand of football where moving the ball at pace is the core aim. Their march to Division 1 of the County League is testament to the well-being of the side and it will be a major surprise if they slip up against Curraha in Kilmallock at 2pm on Sunday.

Best of luck to both Kerry clubs. The winners of Sunday’s semi finals will contest the finals on Saturday February 6th in Croke Park.

Spa and John Mitchels will have to meet again

John Mitchels and Spa played out an extra time thriller at Brosna on Sunday last in the Senior Football League Promotion playoff that ended all square on a scoreline of 1-15 each. The sides will have to meet again on Sunday next at 1:30 at a venue to be decided to decide who will accompany champions Templenoe and Kenmare to Division 1 football in the coming season.

Sneem/Derrynane are Co. Novice Shield champions

Sneem/Derrynane captured the Novice Shield in dramatic circumstances at Caherslee on Saturday afternoon when just edging out Moyvane in a gripping extra time contest. This was no football classic but it was close throughout and the enthusiasm and commitment of the players had to be admired in the heavy underfoot conditions. The sides were level at half time and full time and also at half time in extra time and Erik Burns was the Sneem/Derrynane hero when lofting over the winner in a last ditch attack all of 15 minutes into the final half of extra time to give his side a 0-11 to 0-10 victory.

County Committee Meeting on Monday next – Fixtures top the Agenda
The first meeting of the county committee will be held in Austin Stack Park on Monday next (25th) and the main item on the agenda will be the Fixtures Calendar for 2016.

The CCC, which has representatives from all District Boards, both Football and Hurling, has already discussed the fixtures for the coming year and also met separately with the hurling clubs and the draft Fixtures Calendar for 2016 is due to be forwarded to all clubs in advance of Monday’s County Committee meeting. The county committee, which is made up of club and district board delegates, along with the members of the executive committee, is charged with the ratification of the fixture plans for the coming season.

Following a successful motion to County Convention to have the final round of the County League played by the final Sunday in September, the proposed fixtures for the coming year will obviously differ from previous years. Seven Rounds of the League are now proposed to take place between June and August – that’s two more than last year in the same period.

The Club Championships, due to commence on April 17th (same as last year) will be played up to and including the semi finals by May 7th – the usual practice over the last few years has been to defer the semi finals to the Autumn but that caused major issues last year.

Following the Review Committee’s proposals, and the subsequent relegation process, the Senior county championship is confined to sixteen teams, eight club and eight Divisional sides. There are of course nine divisional teams and the Review committee decided that the two divisional sides with the poorest record in the Championship over the last five years would have to play off to decide who gets to play in the Championship. A formula was provided to decide the two teams and that game may be going ahead as early as the end of March – so effectively, one divisional side will not be taking part in this year’s championship.

Now that the Championship is down to sixteen teams – there were twenty last year – that allows the CCC to run the championship in a different format if the county committee so wishes. The losers round has still to be catered for, but the option of playing the championship in the “Christy Ring” format could be considered for instance. That format sees eight play eight and then the first round winners play each other and the first round losers play each other in Round. Losers in Round 2 would exit the competition at that stage.

Another important issue this year is the senior football championship relegation process which has already been passed by the County Committee. A club side will be relegated from the Senior Championship based on the Club Championship which starts on April 17th.

2016 Fixtures Calendar - Hurling

At a meeting between the County CCC and the hurling clubs on Monday, decisions were made relating to the fixtures calendar for 2016. Some of the main items were:

• The Co. senior championship will commence on the weekend of 26th June;

• There will be a gap between rounds 1 and 2 of the championship;

• Co. senior final provisionally fixed for Sunday, 11th September (alternative date is 25th Sept.);

• Co. League Division 2 to be divided into 2 groups, with winners of each group to contest the final and the Co. intermediate championship round 1 is to be played on Tuesday, 5th July. Full details will be circulated to all clubs.

All those issues and a lot more are down for decision at Monday night’s county committee meeting.

Kerry GAA Supporters Annual Dinner Dance and Awards night
The Kerry GAA Supporters Club hold their annual social on this Saturday in the Ballygarry House Hotel in Tralee. There is plenty to celebrate there too with All Ireland titles by the Minor and Junior footballers and National titles as well by the Senior and Minor Hurlers as well as eight All Stars between football and hurling, not to mention Dominick Lynch’s exploits on the Handball scene. So a big night as usual in the Ballygarry House and tickets are still available from Donie O’Leary, John King, Martin Leane and any of the committee members.

Kerry GAA Gala Fundraising Dinner in Dublin

The inaugural Kerry GAA Gala Fundraising Dinner will be held at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel, (Burlington) Dublin, on Friday week 29th January.

The Black tie event will take place on the eve of the opening game in the Alliance Football League when Dublin and Kerry will meet in Croke Park. It will be attended by many of the stars of the legendary Kerry-Dublin clashes over the decades and all funds raised on the night will be invested in the development of training and coaching facilities at the Kerry Centre of Excellence Project.

To book a table, please visit www.kerryfundraiserdublin.com or contact Carley Donegan on info@kerryfundraiserdublin.com.

Major Renovations at Austin Stack Park have commenced
As part of long term plans to upgrade all facilities at Tralee’s Austin Stack Park, the second phase of renovations have commenced at the grounds over the last week or so.

The first phase of course involved the resurfacing and laying of a sand based pitch with associated drainage works. The pitch is in wonderful shape right now despite the adverse weather conditions over the past couple of months.

The second phase of development involves the following:

• The levelling and concreting of the John Mitchel’s end terracing

• Installation of a new modern floodlighting system

• Removal of the wire perimeter fencing to be replaced with a spectator friendly low wall topped by metal horizontal bars

• The perimeter wall will have safety gates to allow pitch access for spectators in the event of emergency

• Upgrading of the team dugouts to include elevated seating

This phase of the development is specifically targeting urgent requirements under the Slattery Health and Safety Report and in effect, the completion of these works will ensure that the capacity of the grounds will be maintained at the highest level. It is hoped to complete these renovations by March 6th when the grounds will re-open to host the Allianz League double bill when Kerry play Wexford in hurling and Donegal in Football. The Munster Under 21 football championship game against Tipperary will be held on the following Wednesday evening under lights.

Meanwhile, planning permission has been received for the construction of dressing rooms and associated facilities at the new centre of excellence in Currans. It is hoped to put the contract out to tender during February and construction will commence as soon as possible. Three pitches have alreadybeen completed and a fourth will follow as soon as weather permits. A fifth pitch is also in the pipeline. Floodlighting will be installed during the Summer months and it is hoped that all facilities will be available by November.

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

Kerry play Waterford in Killarney
The Kerry senior hurlers will be at home to Waterford in Fitzgerald Stadium on this Saturday, 23rd at 2.00p.m in round 4 of the Munster senior league. This will be the last competitive game before the Allianz League campaign, which commences on Sunday, 14th February away to Laois.

Good News for Kerry Hurlers

Kerry received good news last weekend following a meeting of Central Council. They granted Kerry permission to retain the use of outside of county players in senior hurling competitions. The only stipulation is that the number is limited to 3 and these players must have been involved with Kerry during 2015. This will strengthen the Kerry panel considerably. In the 2015 Christy Ring Cup Final, Patrick Kelly (Clarecastle), Davy Butler (Knockavilla-Kickhams) and John O’Neill (Clonoulty-Rossmore) assisted Kerry.

Club Scene

The Kilmoyley Hurling Club annual convention takes place on this Friday, 22nd January in their Clubrooms, commencing at 8.00p.m. Some copies still remain of the 2016 Kilmoyley G.A.A. calendar, featuring photographs of all teams from under 6 right up to senior. It is on sale locally at just €7, with €1 from each sale being donated to the Kerry/Cork Health Link bus. Further details from (087)9812676 or (087)9745817.

Lixnaw Hurling Club will hold their Victory Social on this Saturday, 23rd January in the Ballyroe Heights Hotel. Highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the 2015 co. minor championship medals.

The Tralee Parnell’s Hurling Club will hold a Hurling and Camogie Academy over 6 weeks, commencing on Tuesday, 2nd February. Venue will be Tralee Sports Complex and it is open to children born from 2006 up to 2009. Cost is €12 and a hurley and helmet will be supplied. Further details and up to date news on the club at traleeparnellshurling.blogspot.ie .

Scór na nÓg All-Ireland in Killarney

Stewards are required for the Scór na nÓg All-Ireland in the INEC on Saturday 30th January. The Spa (Cill Airne) set dancers who will perform in the Scór na nÓg All-Ireland in the INEC on 30th January (2pm): Liam Ó Spealáin, Céití Ní Chróinín, Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin, Áine Ní Bhrosnacháin, Cianán Ó Dochartaigh, Áine Ní Chonchúir, Eoin Ó Donnchú, Éabha Ní Shúilleabháin.

The Spa (Cill Airne) quiz team members who will take part in the Scór na nÓg Quiz All-Ireland final are: Niamh Ní Chlúmháin, Tomás Pléimeann, Séamus Ó Loinsigh, Mícheál Ó hEathírn. The Spá lads are the present All-Ireland Senior Scór na nÓg Quiz Champions. Go raibh gach ádh orthu!

Senior Scór County Final: These performers who have qualified by being successful in their districts will take part in the Kerry County Final which will be held at 6pm on 6th February (Satharn) in the Girls (Convent) Primary School, Oileán Ciarraí. This is an occasion not to be missed!