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Black and Amber on red alert

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by Eamonn Fitzgerald

Senior Club Championship

Dr Crokes v Austin Stacks

Sunday at 2.30pm

Lewis Road

The prospect of relegation will once again be staring Dr Crokes in the face if they lose to three-in-a-row champions Austin Stacks on Sunday.

Crokes have home venue and they will certainly need that advantage following two defeats at the hands of Templenoe and Kerins O’Rahillys in Rounds 1 and 2.

They were beaten by four points by Rahillys and lost out narrowly by a single point at a balmy Templenoe on Saturday last (1-6 to 0-10). Both sides kicked some dreadful wides and the county players were largely anonymous - obviously still drained after their All-Ireland win/celebrations.

The only two Kerry players who really shone were Gavin Crowley and Micheál Burns.

The outstanding footballer on the field was Templenoe’s Pat Clifford, who is not long back from England.

Crokes have now suffered four defeats in a row. Along with Stacks, the Killarney club are the most successful club team in Kerry. Crokes won seven Kerry SFC titles between 2010 and 2018. Now they are rebuilding a new team with a cohort of young players to be blooded.

However, that does not provide the total reason for their losses. They were close to a full team versus Templenoe, except for key player Gavin White who is out with a knee injury which could keep him out of football for the rest of the season if he needs surgery.

Micheál Burns and debutants Neil O’Shea and Cian McMahon kept Crokes in the game the last day. Fionn Fitzgerald also showed that he hasn’t lost the defensive skills he has honed in Croke Park and elsewhere. He confined Killian Spillane, Templenoe’s most dangerous player, to just one point from play. Burns did very well also.

The Rock also had a dreadful start to this year’s championship as they were hammered by Templenoe and just about got out of dodge on Sunday last against Strand Road.

This match at Connolly Park was a repeat of the 2021 Kerry SFC final. After their mishaps of losing their two top players at the start of last year’s county final, Rahillys put in a big effort to win the bragging rights. David Moran was unlucky to be injured last year but he made amends for it this time around.

As expected, Jack Savage scored from frees. Mush O’Brien scored their goal and Tommy Walsh popped up for three points, which included two marks.

Stacks battled on, however, and some of their younger players did well. The Stacks natives told me that Star Donaghy will not be playing this year “because he is nearly 40”.

Gearóid Fitzgerald’s goal got the Rock going and it was nip and tuck to the end with Stacks eventually winning by a single point.

Now Stacks are back in the mix for a semi-final berth, although they could still face the drop if their trip to Killarney is unsuccessful. Group leaders Templenoe (4 points) face Rahillys (2 points) at the same time in Strand Road.

Stacks (2 points) will secure a top two finish if they win and Rahillys lose.

If Rahillys and Stacks both win, the top three teams will be separated by points difference.

If Stacks lose on Sunday and Rahillys win, Stacks will finish joint bottom with Crokes, at which point their head-to-head record against Crokes will sentence them to the relegation playoff. However, if Stacks lose and Rahillys also lose, they and Crokes will be joint bottom and the fourth placed team will be decided by points difference.

One thing is certain: a further loss for Crokes will put them into a relegation battle, as happened last year. They won that game against Legion.

Brian McMahon will be looking for a big step-up in performance from the Crokes in this all black and amber clash at Lewis Road.

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Kerry base confirmed for Rás Mumhan

By Sean Moriarty Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster. The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster.

The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in Castleisland and will run from Good Friday until Easter Monday.

The final route has not yet been revealed but it is expected to follow a similar path to the 2022 edition.

Last year, due to organisational difficulties, the Rás Mumhan committee asked local clubs to take charge of each day of the race.

Killarney Cycling Club hosted the Easter Saturday leg of the race, including managing the stage start in the town centre, the Category One mountain climb at Bealach Oisin Pass and the stage finish in Sneem.

“We are looking forward to seeing everyone at Easter and we wish all the riders the best of luck in their preparations for the event. Further details to follow as they are confirmed,” said Race Secretary Sinéad Moriarty.

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Showcasing Killarney to an influential audience

Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night. It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it […]

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Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night.

It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it was also a perfect opportunity to show the best of Killarney. Held in the Plaza Hotel, it was hosted by Kerry Skal President Michelle Rosney who used the occasion to highlight the best of Killarney’s performing arts talent, cuisine and locally produced drinks. There were special performances on the night by singers and dancers from St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School and the West End House School of Arts who brought The Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, back to life for one night only to deliver a passionate dramatisation of a famous speech. Skal is the largest international hospitality networking organisation in the world with 13,000 members in 308 clubs in almost 90 countries. Fáilte Ireland Chairman Paul Carty said in his speech that the contribution Killarney has made to the Irish tourism industry should not be underestimated. He added that the tourism industry supports over 3,500 jobs in Killarney and over 7,000 in the rest of Kerry. He said the hard work put in by tourism professionals in Killarney over the years is paying off and when Fáilte Ireland surveyed hundreds of domestic and international tourists, at the height of the season last August, they couldn’t speak highly enough of their experience with 97 percent saying they were very satisfied. “The national figure is 90 percent so Killarney is actually seven percent higher than the national average and that’s truly exceptional,” he said. Over 55 percent of visitors to Killarney also spend time in other parts of Kerry and towns, like Dingle, Kenmare and Tralee, and really benefit from the spin-off.

INDUSTRY CHALLENGES

The Fáilte Ireland chairman said his organisation is acutely aware what Killarney has faced in recent years and the challenges it currently faces and every support possible will be provided to help.

Mr Carty said Fáilte Ireland last year launched a destination experience and development plan for Killarney and that will see the town reach its full potential through sustainability and the development of year-round tourist attractions.

He said costs were also a big concern with energy bills, in particular, going through the roof and putting businesses under serious pressure.

Staffing was another serious problem for the industry as so much talent was lost during the pandemic.

“An awful lot of great people left our industry and they’re not coming back, so there is a great shortage,” he said, adding that Fáilte Ireland was working hard to overcome the difficulties being experienced.

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