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Clare v Kerry Preview: Munster excitement at an all-time low

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Kerry’s Stephen O’Brien in action against Clare in the 2018 Munster SFC semi-final. Pic: Paudie Healy.

 

Munster SFC Semi-Final
Clare v Kerry
Saturday at 7pm
Cusack Park

Championship season is upon us. Well, sort of.

While this weekend technically signals the start of Kerry’s latest All-Ireland tilt, it has become nigh on impossible for the average supporter to get excited about the Munster Senior Football Championship. In fact, it’s fair to say that excitement is at an all-time low. The competition has been won by just three teams since 1935, Clare in 1992 the one earth-shattering anomaly over that mind-numbingly predictable 83-year period.

Kerry and Cork have won the rest and the latter’s recent demise has made the outcome even more inevitable. The Kingdom haven’t been defeated in Munster since 2012 and Peter Keane’s charges can secure the county’s seventh consecutive title with victory in this year’s final on June 22.

Clare have stood between Kerry and a Munster final in five of the last six seasons but they have been fairly soundly beaten every time, perhaps most notably this time last year when they conceded 0-32 en route to a humbling 22-point defeat in Killarney.

If the Banner County are better equipped to cause a shock this time out they’re doing a fine job of hiding it. They just about avoided relegation to Division 3 of the National League and their victory over Waterford in the Munster quarter-final was about as underwhelming as any victory can be. Clare failed to register a single score in the last 32 minutes of that game, eventually hanging on for a forgettable 0-9 to 0-8 win.

Without putting too fine a point on it, it’s unlikely that Colm Collins’ team will be brimming with confidence heading into this particular showdown with Kerry. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion and the bookies agree: the reigning champions are 1/80 to prevail in Cusack Park tomorrow night.

Collins summed the whole thing up earlier this year when he was asked by the Clare Champion about the excitement of the championship.

“The excitement of the Munster championship,” he laughed. “I’ve a pain in my face talking about this. It’s ridiculous.”

He then went on to suggest an alternative championship structure that would not include the provincials. We hear you, Colm.

So what’s the point of this game, or, indeed, the Munster SFC as a whole?

In truth, there isn’t any and we can only hope that the newly formed Fixtures Review Committee find it in their hearts to scrap the provincial championships altogether and finally put us all out of our misery.

Football fans outside of Ulster are largely apathetic towards the provincial championships and that is likely to be reflected in tomorrow’s attendance, especially with the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool taking place at the slightly later time of 8pm.

But look, we might as well preview our championship opener regardless.

MOMENTUM

Kerry’s impressive National League run seems like a really long time ago. That’s probably because it was a really long time ago. Nine weeks have passed since that final defeat to Mayo and it really feels as though we’re starting all over again from scratch.

And it’s not as though Peter Keane’s men can start to build a whole pile of momentum now, regardless of how tomorrow’s game goes. There will be a three-week lay-off before the Munster final, where they will face Cork (who were recently relegated to Division 3 of the National League) or Limerick (who finished second last in Division 4).

After that there will be another three-week lay-off before we get down to the real business of the Super 8s.

All things considered, Kerry’s games in Munster are little more than glorified warm-ups and with a number of starters out of contention through injury, Peter Keane has named an interesting lineup for his side’s championship bow.

Rathmore’s Shane Ryan gets the nod for the Clare game having started between the sticks for most of the league. Brian Kelly of Legion, who played very well for his club in April, is a reliable alternative on the bench.

Shane Murphy, meanwhile, is currently out of the picture. Some journalists seem to be under the impression that the Dr Crokes netminder, who missed the league campaign due to club commitments, “opted out” of the Kerry set-up but it’s my understanding that he was informed by management that he was surplus to requirements – for this year at least.

Out the field, Tom O’Sullivan was ever-present throughout the spring and he retains his place, albeit at the slightly unfamiliar position of corner back. Versatile Firies man Jack Sherwood had been tried out at centre back in recent challenge matches and that’s where he’ll line out tomorrow.

Gavin Crowley showed well towards the end of the league and he and Templenoe clubmate Tadhg Morley start at half back and full back respectively, while Jason Foley and the recalled Shane Enright complete the back six.

Gavin White is reportedly back to full fitness following his nasty elbow injury but the athletic Dr Crokes all-rounder, who was nominated by his club to captain Kerry this year, is named as No. 26 in the panel.

Some observers, this writer included, have wondered aloud if White might be suited to a role at centre field and he certainly appears to have all the tools to excel at 8 or at 9. It’s a move that appears to make sense, especially when you consider the fact that Kerry have decent cover in the half back line.

With Jack Barry unavailable, Keane has opted for the physical midfield combination of David Moran and Adrian Spillane for the trip to Clare.

The forward division is more cut and dry. With Dara Moynihan out, Diarmiud O’Connor lines out at half forward alongside Seán O’Shea and Stephen O’Brien while David Clifford and Paul Geaney are joined by James O’Donoghue in the full forward line.

Two Kerins O’Rahilly’s men, Gavin O’Brien and Tommy Walsh, had very good leagues so you would imagine that both will be there or thereabouts moving forward, although the former is not named in the matchday squad this time out.

Dr Crokes half forward Micheál Burns and experienced Legion man Jonathan Lyne are named on the bench.

Verdict: Kerry by nine.

 

Kerry team v Clare

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
3. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)
6. Jack Sherwood (Firies)
7. Shane Enright (Tarbert)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
9. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)

10. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)
11. Seán O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)

13. David Clifford (Fossa)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
15. James O’Donoghue (Killarney Legion)

Subs

16. Brian Kelly (Killarney Legion)
17. Mark Griffin (St Michael’s/Foilmore)
18. Brian Ó Beaglaioch (An Ghaeltacht)
19. Michael Geaney (Dingle)
20. Graham O’Sullivan (Piarsaigh na Dromoda)
21. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
22. Jonathan Lyne (Killarney Legion)
23. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes)
24. Robert Wharton (Renard)
25. Conor Geaney (Dingle)
26. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

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    Are you happy and where you want to be with your health, where you want to be financially or are you going through the motions each day, unsure of your purpose? Are you supported by others when you’re struggling or only supported by others when things are going well?Are you looking forward to […]

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Are you happy and where you want to be with your health, where you want to be financially or are you going through the motions each day, unsure of your purpose?

Are you supported by others when you’re struggling or only supported by others when things are going well?
Are you looking forward to the next five, 10, 20 years of your life?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, I encourage you to look around at the people you spend your time with. Your time is your most expensive asset. Your mind is your most expensive real estate.

With whom you spend your time, and those that you permit to impact your thoughts and decisions will have a great impact on your life.

From the outside looking in, our gym culture is the most difficult health benefit for others to understand.
Now more than ever all our brains are fed is chaos, division, selfishness and negativity. We can’t have that here. Those that thrive in that environment aren’t a good fit for us, and they won’t last long here. Either they’ll leave on their own, or we’ll tell them it’s time to go.

Years ago, when I was struggling with some people decisions (personally and business); one of my mentors told me something that continues to stick with me. It’s since been something I have said to people many times;
“The people that have helped you get to where you are may not be the same people that can help you get to where you want to go.”

Ask yourself these three questions;

* Who’s in your circle?
* Who do you need to start spending less time with?
* In order to get where you want to be, what kind of people do you need to start spending more of your time with?

Now it’s time to get to work. Start spending less time with those dragging you down. Start surrounding yourself with the people that won’t condone your behaviours that aren’t consistent with your goals, support your work ethic, help you to learn from your failures and will be excited to celebrate your successes.

When you are ready, we are here to help. Book your complimentary consultation by visiting our website www.activate.ie.

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  There’s an energetic way to explore Tralee and its surrounds this summer as a new bike rental company has teamed up with The Rose Hotel. Tralee Bike Rental have opened a new bike kiosk located at the hotel where visitors and locals can now hire a bike. “This is a fantastic service for our […]

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There’s an energetic way to explore Tralee and its surrounds this summer as a new bike rental company has teamed up with The Rose Hotel.

Tralee Bike Rental have opened a new bike kiosk located at the hotel where visitors and locals can now hire a bike.

“This is a fantastic service for our customers and we are thrilled to be part of this new collaboration with Tralee Bike Rental. We wish Maurice and his team the very best of luck, and I know all our guests and visitors to Tralee are going to really enjoy this new service exploring Tralee and its surrounds,” Mark Sullivan, General Manager, The Rose Hotel, said.

Tralee Bike Rental have a fleet of comfortable, top quality Hybrid Bikes – ideal for a leisurely cycle, and power assisted eBikes. For families, child seats or trailer for the little legs that can’t cycle yet can be provided!

“We are thrilled to have our new business, Tralee Bike Rental, located on the grounds of The Rose Hotel,” Maurice Whelan, Tralee Bike Rental, said.

“With so many visitors coming to Tralee, we feel this will be a fantastic service and partnership. Included in the bike rental is access to a self-guided tour via our App, which has preloaded moderate and more energetic cycling tours of Tralee.”

The Rose Hotel have a new package, Tralee Activity Break, with bike hire included. You can book this package online at www.therosehotel.com or call 066 7199100.

To contact Tralee Bike Rental, visit www.traleebikerental.ie or call 085 2605817.

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70 toddlers from Currow Play School have become Ireland’s littlest fundraisers as they stepped out to raise vital funds for vulnerable children.

They took part in the Barnardos Big Toddle which this year has the theme of ’Community Helpers’.

Barnardos currently works with just under 18,000 children and families across Ireland and the funds raised will support Barnardos Early Years services.

“This year, Currow Play School turns 25 and we have been taking part in Barnardos Big Toddle since 2006, which is 18 years of toddling in aid of vulnerable children,” Catherine Fleming form Currow Play School said.
“Our toddle is a highlight for the children and the team every year. It’s fantastic to get the little ones involved in something so worthwhile at a young age, it’s always a great day of fun. Barnardos provides a huge number of services in communities across Ireland, but these can only continue with help from the public. The toddle runs throughout June so I would implore anyone with toddlers or wobblers at home to sign up for Barnardos Big Toddle supported by Pipin Pear today.”

Anyone wishing to take part can register today at www.barnardos.ie/bigtoddle.  

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