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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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Pat Delaney Memorial Cup Golf Classic

St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble […]

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St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble over ten holes and the entry fee is €120 per team. The entry fee will include a goody bag for each player and a cup of Tea/Coffee and scone when the round is completed. Tee times are available from 8am.

Killarney Credit Union is the main sponsor of the event, in recognition of Pat having been a highly respected and effective Chairman of the Credit Union. Pat was a Chairman and Vice President of St Pats East Kerry and he started the annual golf classic over ten years ago as a fundraiser for the Club. Known for his excellent organisation skills and a master salesman who enjoyed persuading the golfers of the Killarney area to take part in the event. He acted as master of ceremonies on the day, meeting and greeting every team prior to their games and to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day.

On the morning of the golf classic, back in June 2018, Pat sadly passed away. His contribution to hurling and to St Pats demanded that his legacy be commemorated. Pat had also made a major contribution to the Killarney Credit Union at a time of major change in their business, leading the two organisation, St Pats and Killarney Credit Union to combine and rebrand the annual golf classic in Pat’s name.

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Civil War, a song and New York city

  A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song. On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican […]

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A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song.

On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican prisoners were taken from their temporary prison cells at the Great Southern Hotel and marched to a location near Countess Road.

Less than 24 hours after the more-documented Ballyseedy Massacre near Tralee, the five men named – Stephen Buckley, Tim Murphy, Daniel Donoghue, Jeremiah O’Donoghue and Tadgh Coffey –were killed by Free State troops with explosives and gunfire.

Fast forward over 100 years when local musician and song writer Donal Power was approached by Tadgh Buckley of Killarney Music School.
“He asked me if I would write a song about an incident with particular emphasis on a person who was his long-dead cousin. I told him I’d try and hoped he would be satisfied with the result,” explained Donal.
“He then gave me a copy of Tim Horgan’s book ‘The Stones Still Speak’, containing the story of Stephen Buckley murdered at the Countess Bridge which also contained a letter written by Stephen the night before his death in 1923, which didn’t come to light until six years later. Like many others I was aware of the massacre at Ballyseedy Cross but not the Countess Road, Killarney. So this was the project and the challenge!
“I spent a number of weeks writing a song about the incident. There is a lot of content in the story and I wanted to be true to the content of Stephen’s letter. I completed the song and sang it for him and others at a session where it appeared to make a positive impression. It’s an acoustic ballad which I accompany with guitar.”
But the story does not end there. A New York-based family, direct descendants of the murdered Stephen Buckley made contact with Power.
A man named Thomas Buckley from New York made contact with the local songwriter after hearing the song on Soundcloud.
Thomas explained: “My father Stephen Buckley was born in New York City in 1924. His father Michael Buckley,  named his first son, my dad, after his brother Stephen who was killed at the Countess Bridge in 1923. My older brother is also Stephen Buckley born in New York in

1954.”
Three members of the New York-based Buckley family, Thomas, Stephen and younger brother Timothy, were on a family holiday to Killarney earlier this month.

Power met them and was able to take the brothers to the site of the ambush were he learned that they are also related to Tadhg Buckley, the man who originally asked for the song to be written.

“We don’t know the exact relationship but it is very direct. The three brothers think Tadhg now lives where the murdered Stephen Buckley once lived,” added Power.

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

SONG LYRICS
KILLARNEY, NINETEEN-TWENTY-THREE
A CIVIL WAR ATROCITY
A MASSACRE, A SHAMEFUL EPISODE
FOUR SOLDIERS OF THE I.R.A.
BY FREE-STATE FORCES BLOWN AWAY
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

A SOLE SURVIVOR ON THE RUN,
TADHG COFFEY WAS THE ONLY ONE
WHO MANAGED TO ESCAPE AND TELL THE NEWS
OF THE LANDMINE, THE BOOBY-TRAP
THE BULLETS FIRED, THE COVER-UP
THAT KILLED TIM MURPHY, STEPHEN BUCKLEY AND THE DONOGHUES

THE DAY BEFORE THE MASSACRE
WHILE STEPHEN WAS HELD PRISONER
HE HAD A PREMONITION HE WOULD DIE
HE GAVE A LETTER TO THE GUARD
TRUSTING HE WOULD NOT DISCARD
THE MESSAGE TO HIS MOTHER AND THE WORDS THAT SAID GOODBYE

THE GUARD DENIED THE LAST REQUEST
AND KEPT THE LETTER HE SUPPRESSED
WHEN EMIGRATING TO THE USA
HE KEPT THE SECRET SIX LONG YEARS
TILL HANNAH BUCKLEY, THROUGH HER TEARS
COULD READ WHAT STEPHEN WROTE BEFORE THEY TOOK HIS LIFE AWAY

“I’D LIKE TO LIVE A LONGER LIFE
BUT I AM RECONCILED TO DIE
MAY GOD PROTECT MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REJOICE AND DO NOT MOURN MY LOSS
FOR I AM CERTAIN THAT THE CAUSE
OF TRUTH AND RIGHT, OF PEARSE AND TONE WILL TRIUMPH IN THE END”

“I DIE A TRUE REPUBLICAN
REMEMBER ME TO GALLANT MEN,
TO MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, WHEN I’M DEAD
AND MOTHER, BRAVE IT CHEERFULLY
PRAY THE ROSARY FOR ME
AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SENT ME TO MY DEATH“, THE LETTER SAID

AND ON THAT SPOT A MONUMENT
COMMEMORATES THE SAD EVENT
WHERE LONG AGO THE BLOOD OF HEROES FLOWED
THOSE MEN WHO PAID THE FINAL PRICE
WHO MADE THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

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