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2018 East Kerry Super League finally concludes

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The final of the last year’s East Kerry Super League took place on Sunday, over a year after the tournament began in February of 2018.

The Super League is effectively a pre-season tournament which is sometimes billed as good preparation for the real stuff, i.e. the County League which starts in March and the Club Championship which is played in the month of in April.

But that’s not how the players feel. When I spoke to players about the fixtures crisis late last year, they were universally in favour of scrapping the Super League. It was described to me as a series of “glorified challenge matches” on numerous occasions and many felt that it the tournament was merely taking up weekends in an already over-crowded schedule.

The bottom line is that it’s not taken at all seriously by players and very few clubs, if any, see value in it.

Timeline of Events

Last year’s Super League kicked off on February 11. The competition was comprised of Division 1 (two groups of five) and Division 2 (one group of four). The winner of Division 1A was to play the winner of Division 1B in the Division 1 final, with the top two in Division 2 facing off in the Division 2 final.

That’s three or four games for the 10 teams who didn’t reach the final and four or five for the four teams who did.

So how did a tournament that requires teams to play a maximum of five fixtures take all of 53 weeks to conclude?

Here’s a quick run down of how things panned out. Dr Crokes won their first three games in Division 1B by an average margin of 19.3 points. It’s hard to imagine how results like that are good preparation for the teams on the receiving end of such drubbings, and games like that hardly do Crokes any favours either.

Kilcummin gave a walkover to Rathmore on February 27 and a number of games were called off due to inclement weather on March 4.

Fixtures were still being played in all three groups in May, three months after the tournament began. Spa beat Cordal in the Division 2 final on May 20.

Crokes reached an agreement with Legion that their County League game on June 16 would double as the pair’s final Super League game. Crokes won that match by five points and so topped Division 1B with four wins from four.

The outcome of Division 1A was still unclear well into June. Three teams were still in contention. Fossa and Glenflesk were scheduled to play on June 24 with the winner to face Listry in a playoff to see who would top the group, but that match was postponed. All teams involved were expecting the tournament to eventually be played out at some stage in 2018.

Towards the end of the year you had a situation where Glenflesk were out of everything else, so the only remaining fixtures they had were in the Super League. How can you expect a group of players to hang around indefinitely for one more game, when that game is probably one of the least important games they’ll play all year? It’s ridiculous.

Fossa v Glenflesk was eventually played two weeks ago on February 3, 2019, doubling as group game for this year’s Super League. Glenflesk won so they played Listry on Sunday in the Division 1A playoff, which also trebled as both the 2018 Super League final and a 2019 group game. Glenflesk won.

(Presumably Division 1B winners Crokes were left off the hook, so to speak, because of their ongoing involvement in the All-Ireland Club Championship.)

So far in this year’s tournament, All-Ireland Intermediate champions Kilcummin have already given walkover and teams are once again trying to double up Super League games with County League fixtures.

Not Fit for Purpose

The East Kerry Super League is supposed to be a competitive pre-season tournament, but it’s not competitive and it isn’t being run off in the pre-season. Simply put, it’s not fit for purpose. It occupies precious weekends in a schedule that is already so packed that it can only be described as a mess.

Teams clearly don’t care about it. If they did then they wouldn’t give walkovers, they wouldn’t be trying to double fixtures up with important games in other competitions, and it wouldn’t take over 12 months to run off a tournament that only requires teams to play four or five games in total.

As I’ve said before, the fixtures crisis isn’t the East Kerry Board’s fault. The entire GAA calendar needs a radical overhaul from start to finish. But as things stand in this part of the world, if the East Kerry league and championship were played off in a timely fashion, players would at least be guaranteed a decent break between one season and the next.

The O’Donoghue Cup is a fantastic tournament with great history, but there’s no denying that it has lost some of its shine in recent times. The fact that the competition didn’t finish until a few days before Christmas last year infuriated players and the consensus locally is that something has to change.

It remains to be seen how things will work out this year but one interesting solution for 2020 might be to combine the Super League and the O’Donoghue Cup to form one efficiently-run group and knockout championship. That way we’d have one East Kerry tournament that works, instead of two that don’t.

Pic: Séamus Healy.

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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching

Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]

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Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.

This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.

“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.

“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”

The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.

To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.

For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: kerrymhwfest20@gmail.com.

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Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry

  11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]

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11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.

The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.

Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.

Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.

Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.

For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.

Helpline

Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

 

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