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Can anyone stop the Crokes?

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Dr Crokes v St Kieran’s

Saturday, August 25 at 4pm

(Lewis Road)

The above headline is getting a bit repetitive but, unfortunately for 16 of the 17 teams in contention, so too is the Kerry County Championship. Dr Crokes are on the hunt for three-in-a-row and Pat O’Shea’s team are odds-on favourites to prevail once again in 2018.

The Killarney club retained their Club Championship crown with a comprehensive victory over Kenmare in April and they remained unbeaten throughout their County League campaign, winning 10 of their 11 games and drawing one. Untimely injuries to key men Gavin White and Tony Brosnan may open the door for their rivals just a bit but if any squad can absorb the blow of losing such an influential pair, it’s the Crokes’.

St Kieran’s forced a replay with Austin Stacks in Round 1 last year before being eliminated by West Kerry in the loser’s round. They couldn’t have been handed a more difficult opener this time out, but they might take heart from their showing against the same opposition in 2016 when they lost by a single point. Having said that, anything other than a comfortable Crokes victory would be a major shock.

Verdict: Crokes by eleven.

Dr Crokes

Last year: Champions (beat South Kerry)

Winners: 12 times (1901, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1991, 2000, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017)

Current form: WWWWW

Tournament odds: 5/6 

St Kieran’s

Last year: Round 2B (lost to West Kerry)

Winners: Once (1988)

Clubs: Ballymacelligott, Brosna, Castleisland Desmonds, Cordal, Currow, Knocknagoshel, Scartaglin

Tournament odds: 40/1

 

Legion and Rathmore know each other well

Rathmore v Killarney Legion

Saturday, August 25 at 6pm

(Rathbeg)

These two groups of players have met so many times in recent years they must be sick of the sight of each other. The sides are fairly evenly matched but Rathmore have had the upper hand of late, defeating Legion in last year’s O’Donoghue Cup final and also coming out on top when they met in the County League at the end of June.

Led by high calibre players like Paul Murphy, Mark Reen and Shane Ryan, and with two-time All-Star Aidan O’Mahony rumoured to be back and ready for action, Rathmore will be a formidable championship team as always.

As a Legion player it would probably be unwise of me to predict the outcome of this one.

Verdict: Too close to call.

Rathmore

Last year: Quarter-final (lost to South Kerry)

Winners: Never

Current form: WLWLW

Tournament odds: 22/1

Killarney Legion

Last year: Round 2A (lost to Austin Stacks)

Winners: Once (1946)

Current form: LLWWL

Tournament odds: 25/1

 

Can the Shamrocks rock the South?

South Kerry v Kenmare Shamrocks

Saturday, August 25 at 6pm

(Cahersiveen)

Last year’s beaten finalists begin their 2018 campaign with a home fixture against Kenmare Shamrocks in Caherciveen. Having pushed the Crokes reasonably close in 2017, the men from the south will be hoping to go one step further this year and they still have enough talent in their squad to be considered one of the highest ranked contenders.

It has been a mixed year for Kenmare. They reached the final of the Club Championship but lost to the Crokes and last weekend they avoided relegation to Division 3 of the County League with victory on the final day over Kilcummin. With Kerry stars Stephen O’Brien and Seán O’Shea pulling the strings in their forward division, the 2016 Intermediate champs have what it takes to make life difficult for any team in the county.

Verdict: South Kerry by three.

South Kerry

Last year: Runners-up (lost to Dr Crokes)

Winners: 10 times (1955, 1956, 1958, 1981, 1982, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2015)

Clubs: Derrynane, Dromid Pearses, Renard, Skellig Rangers, Sneem, St. Mary's, St. Michael's/Foilmore, Valentia, Waterville

Tournament odds: 9/1

Kenmare Shamrocks

Last year: Quarter-final (lost to Dr Crokes)

Winners: Never

Current form: LLLWW

Tournament odds: 25/1

 

An Ghaeltacht back in the big time

Mid Kerry v An Ghaeltacht

Saturday, August 25 at 6pm

(Beaufort)

The glory days of the early 2000s seem like a lifetime away but, after a spell out of the spotlight, An Ghaeltacht will once again have a chance to prove themselves at the top table of Kerry football. The Intermediate champions brought the Bishop Moynihan Cup back to Gallarus in 2001 and 2003 and starting this weekend they’ll be hoping to get back to winning ways at senior level.

They’ll fancy their chances of getting a positive result in Round 1; opponents Mid Kerry lost both of their ties in last year’s championship and they’ve only won two championship games in the past three years.

Verdict: An Ghaeltacht by one.

Mid Kerry

Last year: Round 2B (lost to East Kerry)

Winners: 4 times (1967, 1971, 1992, 2008)

Clubs: Beaufort, Cromane, Glenbeigh-Glencar, Keel, Laune Rangers, Milltown/Castlemaine

Tournament odds: 16/1

An Ghaeltacht

Last year: Intermediate champions (beat Templenoe)

Winners: 2 times (2001, 2003)

Form: WLLLW

Tournament odds: 16/1

 

St Brendan’s could cause some upsets

Qualification Round

St Brendan’s v West Kerry

Sunday, August 26 at 6.30pm

(Austin Stack Park)

Their record in the County Championship might tell a different tale but St Brendan’s are a team on the up. With up-and-coming talent like Jack Barry, Ivan Parker and Stefan Okunbor in their ranks, the divisional outfit have the potential to cause one or two upsets in this year’s competition.

You would certainly expect them to advance past last year’s semi-finalists West Kerry, who will probably struggle to cope with the loss of their players from An Ghaeltacht.

The winners of this game will play East Kerry in the first round proper next weekend.

Verdict: St Brendan’s by five.

St Brendan’s

Last year: Round 3 (lost to East Kerry)

Winners: Never

Clubs: Ardfert, Churchill, John Mitchels, Na Gaeil, St Pat's Blennerville

Tournament odds: 25/1

West Kerry

Last year: Semi-final (lost to Dr Crokes)

Winners: Three times (1984, 1985, 1990)

Clubs: Annascaul, Castlegregory, Lispole

Tournament odds: 66/1

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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Soccer coach licensed to one of the highest levels in Ireland

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week. Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.The UEFA B Licence is a […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week.

Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.
The UEFA B Licence is a coaching licence mandated by UEFA, the official governing body of European football. The licence is one level below the UEFA A Licence and allows holders to be head coaches of amateur clubs, youths up to age 16, and assistant coaches for professional clubs.

Ramona started her training in November 2019 and continued, when restrictions allowed, on several block weekends taking place in FAI Headquarters Dublin, Foto Island in Cork, and final assessments in NUIG in Galway.

“Ramona played a significant role in the course group, supporting the younger coaches and challenging those more experienced, ensuring that the group was dynamic, engaging, interactive and a real positive learning environment,” said the FAI’s Head of Coach Education FAI Niall O’Regan.

“Ramona has been a significant role model for not only female coaches but also males coaches in the Kerry region and has done phenomenal work in her previous club Killarney Celtic and more recently with Mastergeeha. It is so important to have such role models and the motivation Ramona has shown is infectious and many coaches will continue in the same vein.”

For Ramona, this week’s award was the culmination of months of hard work, seminars and study.

“It was really tough at the time, final assessments had been submitted, everything had then switched to Zoom and we were so eager to get it finished. Luckily enough I got to finish off a lot of the course content online and then had individual assessments with my tutor Richie Holland current Cork City Men’s Assistant Manager,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Then when we returned to outdoor sports in July we got our practical assessments finished with Galway Utd in NUIG.”

ASSESSMENT

The final assessment took place at Mastergeeha FC pitch – the first time ever that a UEFA coaching assessment took place in Kerry.

“I was coaching in Mastergeeha FC in Killarney pre covid and based on logistics and other coaches’ locations in Munster on my UEFA B I was delighted to coordinate a UEFA B assessment with the FAI to be held in the Mastergeeha with the help of the committee,” she added.

“Tom O’Connor FAI Coach Educator and former Interim Republic of Ireland’s Head Coach was really impressed with the setup, the standard of really good footballers and the fantastic committee that ran it so smoothly.”

It was the first time UEFA B assessments were ever held in Kerry and the facilities, committee and the Mastergeeha U16 Boys team were outstanding that day.

She received mentoring and support from some of the biggest names in Irish soccer.

“I was delighted and honoured to receive my UEFA B Diploma Licence,” she said. “Throughout the diploma I’ve had some great tutors, mentors and some great guest speakers from Robbie Keane, Vera Pauw, Stephen Rice and Ruud Dokter FAI High Performance.

“There was a great core group of us on the course from Irish Senior International Players like Katie McCabe, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahy and I’ve made some amazing friendships with all the ladies on the course. From the start it was a group of huge experience, drive and determination was something we all had in common and it’s great to see us all complete it together.”

LOCAL HELP

She could not have done it without the help of her home club.

“On a personal note, I just want to thank Mastergeeha FC for all their help and support, with special mention to all the management committee, teams and coaches. Must give a mention to Allan Moynihan, Brendan Buckley, Paul Lenihan and Ulick O’Sullivan also. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Academy training in the next two weeks,” she added.

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