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Championship Preview: The Mexican Standoff




With all sides dead level heading into the final game of the opening phase of the Club Championship, it all comes down to this for Rathmore, Legion, Kerins O’Rahilly’s and Dr Crokes.

It’s as close to a good old-fashioned Mexican standoff as you can get - without the unwelcome possibility of getting hit with a stray bullet.

Just like all those old westerns where enemies from multiple posses square off, draw their guns and face each other in one decisive moment, Saturday’s showdown will leave only one party standing.

A single mistake could be the difference between life (the final) and death (the dreaded relegation playoff).

It really is an incredible state of affairs and not one you’ll see too often in any competition in any sport. There is just no separating these four teams.

Crokes beat Legion. Legion beat Rahilly’s. Rahilly’s beat Rathmore. Rathmore beat Crokes. When the draw was made, Group 2 was nicknamed the Group of Death but ironically it’s the only group at any grade – Senior, Intermediate, Junior Premier or Junior – in which all four teams are still alive.

The permutations (which are listed in detail opposite), though fascinating, are enough to give Will Hunting a headache. One kick of the ball could be the difference between the final and potential relegation. Things probably won’t become clear until the very death.

One thing’s for sure: we’re in for high drama when these great old foes face off at 6.30pm tomorrow evening.


Rathmore v Legion

Last weekend, Rathmore managed what Legion couldn’t by beating the Crokes, while Legion managed what Rathmore couldn’t by beating Rahilly’s. In a way, that typifies the recent history of these two teams. While both have shown flashes of brilliance, and in Rathmore’s case they have even won some silverware, a lack of consistency when it comes to championship has been a problem.

These two East Kerry heavyweights know each other inside out by this stage and Legion came out on top of their most recent encounter when they defeated Rathmore in the opening round of last year’s County Championship. That away win gave the Derreen club a lot of confidence as Rathbeg is a notoriously difficult place to get a result. Winning there in consecutive games is a tall order but Stephen Stack will be encouraged by the character his side showed down the stretch in last Sunday’s victory over Rahilly’s.

Legion and Rathmore currently occupy first and second in Group 2 by virtue of their slightly superior points difference but that particular statistic will only come into play if more than two teams are level once the dust has settled - or if there are two draws on Saturday. Surely not?

Verdict: Draw.


Kerins O’Rahilly’s v Dr Crokes

Crokes were probably expecting a bit of a hangover after their All-Ireland bid came to an end, especially with the change in management and some experienced players standing aside, but, nevertheless, losing twice in quick succession will not sit too well with Kerry’s reigning club champions.

They also came mightily close to losing to Legion two weeks ago so things aren’t going very smoothly for Edmund O’Sullivan’s side at the moment. Another slip-up this weekend and they could easily be facing the unthinkable: a relegation playoff. Of course, the same can be said about every team in Group 2 but the very idea of the three-in-a-row county champions being demoted to Intermediate is startling in and of itself.

Rahilly’s had their opportunities against Legion last weekend but losing Jack Savage (red card) and Gavin O’Brien (injured) didn’t help their chances of securing two crucial points.

Kerry stars Tommy Walsh and David Moran (both injured) were forced to watch on from the sidelines and if they and O’Brien are unavailable for Saturday’s showdown, you’d have to say that it will very much be advantage Dr Crokes.

Verdict: Dr Crokes by two.




To make the final, Rathmore need to win and hope Dr Crokes beat/draw with Rahilly’s. If Rathmore lose, they will avoid the relegation playoff if Dr Crokes also lose.

To make the final, Legion need to win and hope Rahilly’s beat/draw with Crokes. If Legion lose, they will avoid the relegation playoff if Rahilly’s also lose.

To make the final, Rahilly’s need to win and hope Rathmore beat/draw with Legion. If Rahilly’s lose, they will avoid the relegation playoff if Rathmore also lose.

To make the final, Dr Crokes need to win and hope Legion beat/draw with Rathmore. If Dr Crokes lose, they will avoid the relegation playoff if Legion also lose.

If one game is a draw, the teams involved in the drawn game will finish 2nd and 3rd.

If both games are drawn, Rathmore and Legion will be level on points difference but Rathmore will advance to the final on points for. Legion will finish second. Rahilly's and Dr Crokes will also be level on points difference but Rahilly's will finish third on points for. Dr Crokes will finish fourth and play in the relegation playoff.

Pic: Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes), Paul Murphy (Rathmore), Tommy Walsh (Rahilly's) and James O'Donoghue (Legion). Artwork by Adam Moynihan.



Carols by Candlelight

    St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas […]






St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas 2023, December17, at 7.00pm. Admission is free.

Ten Choirs from Killarney parish will join together and sing some of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols.
The carol service is directed by accomplished Musician and Choral Director, Paula Gleeson. Originally from Cork, her family have been involved in all aspects of choral and church music for 50 years.

“This is the best experience as director, working with Fr. Kieran O’Brien, and St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir, I get to work with so many talented people in Killarney. The commitment of Teachers, Principals, and the hundreds of students from the Primary and Secondary Schools is inspiring. The generosity of our sponsors, who were so willing to contribute has helped to make this night a reality. We are all so truly grateful,” she said.

Choirs include:
St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish Choir, organist Anita Lakner
Holy Cross Mercy School Choir
St. Oliver’s Primary School Choir
St. Brigid’s Secondary School Choir
St. Brendan’s Secondary School Choir
Killarney Harmonisers
Killarney Community College School Choir
Lissivigeen National School Choir
Gaelscoil Faithleann School Choir
Presentation Monastery School Choir

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The same but different – A tribute to three great Irish musicians



Driving home from work last Friday, tributes for Shane McGowan were pouring out across the radio stations and while listening in, I got a strong sense of déjà vu.

It was only a few months earlier that we got the sad news that the talented Aslan front man Christy Dingham had passed away, and a short few weeks after that – Sinéad O’Connor.  The loss of three iconic Irish musicians that left music fans across the country reeling.

When I think about each artist individually, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Yet, for days after the passing of the Pogues frontman, I found myself wondering why I was so drawn to all three.

And then, over the weekend I stumbled across a completely unrelated article which led with a headline:

“In a year dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and disingenuity, “authentic” has somehow emerged as Merriam-Webster’s word for 2023.”

And there was my answer. The one characteristic that embodied all three of these great Irish musicians.

It was my mother that first introduced me to Aslan’s music. She grew up during their peak and loved all sorts of rock music. I regularly watch their Vicar Street performances back on YouTube and still get mesmerised by Christy’s intense stage presence. Using elaborate hand gestures to evoke a greater meaning behind the words, he always looked like he was away in his own world. Off stage, and particularly later in his career, I admired him for his honesty when talking about his struggles with addiction and mental health. He was talking openly about these issues long before it was the norm.

Sinéad O’Connor was another original soul who, because of her talent, was catapulted into a music industry consumed by artificiality; she was almost too pure for it all. I always admired her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Her authenticity was evident in every aspect of her artistry. The way she unapologetically embraced her shaved head and boy-ish style, she challenged conventional opinions around beauty. Her music reflected her personal struggles and she never shied away from addressing issues of social injustice, religion, and gender equality. Her stances often drew criticism and controversy, but she always remained true to herself.

Shane MacGowan will always be remembered for his unfiltered nature, and while the lyrics of many songs were dark and gritty, there was also an element of empathy and compassion in what he wrote. Like Christy, he too struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout his career. While his demons sometimes spilled over into the public eye, his honesty and vulnerability just endeared him even more to us Irish.

So isn’t it apt in a year we lost three great musicians, the word of 2023 happens to be the one undeniable trait that they all shared. Thank you Christy, Sinead and Shane for showing us that authenticity is not just about being different to everyone else; but also about possessing the courage to challenge the established, to question the norms, and to keep going, even when the going gets tough.


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