THE Dr Crokes chairman Denis Coleman was very busy preparing for the big match when I spoke to him. “Yes, it is an extremely busy time for me factoring in the logistics of the preparation. Isn’t it great to be busy in October at the business end of reaching a county final? Extra funding must be sought and we are so fortunate to have joint club sponsors Maurice Regan and Patrick O’Sullivan as well as the support of local businesses. As I speak to you, the ladies committee in the club are preparing a dinner for all the players. They provide a hot fresh dinner to all players and management on training nights and this is greatly appreciated by all. It proved vital in our preparations for the All Ireland club final and this good idea continues for the county final.”
Daithí Casey, captain of the Crokes, has five Kerry SFC medals and one in Cork with UCC. I put it to him that Crokes are strong favourites for the county final. “I must remind you that we have not beaten South Kerry in a county final. I have painful memories of 2006 when very late in the game Bryan Sheehan landed a massive long distance free over the bar to snatch the title from under our noses. That was cruel luck for us and then in 2009 Declan O’Sullivan scored the winning point near the end. They will be really up for the match and will have no fears of meeting us as champions.”
He pinpointed the great work done within the club’s juvenile coaching programme as the real secret of Croke successes at senior level. “Those Saturday morning sessions are the bedrock for success. There is great team spirit and we have so many talented players who bring different attributes to a winning team. It is easy to win when you are in winning mode.”
He has played in all positions in attack and at midfield. And his favourite position? “Centre forward, full forward and midfield. I prefer to play in a central position as opposed to the wings or in the corner. That much said I am willing to play in any position that keeps Crokes winning.”
His toughest opponent so far? “Fionn Fitzgerald. We grew up together and had the same coaches. He is a top-class defender and he knows only too well my style of play. I am also very impressed with Jonathan Lyne, one of the emerging young defenders. Peter Crowley is tough from the Kerry panel and Ross O’Callaghan also comes to mind.”
“I feel very privileged leading Crokes in to the county final and the way I have approached captaincy is to concentrate on giving 100% in my own game. I won’t be the man in the middle of the players making inspirational speeches in the dressing room. There are several experienced players who will do that. Captaincy is a great honour for my family and for myself. I will be able to encourage some individual players particularly the young ones so that the team goes on to the pitch in a winning mood.”
“I was a sub in last year’s win and came on to score a point. I have learned so much from the experienced full forward line of Colm Cooper and Kieran O’Leary. They are not very big men, but they are skilful and confident in front of goal. Pat O’Shea was a brilliant corner forward in his playing days and he has thought me so much. This trio have mastered the skills of forward play. The physical size of a natural corner forward doesn’t matter so long as you have mastered the skill and the confidence to score. They make scoring look so easy and I have picked up the confidence to shoot or pass off depending on which is the better option for the team. I was well coached as a juvenile by Pat O’Shea, Seamie Doc and Edmund O’Sullivan.
"My father (Aidan) was also a big influence in my development as a forward. He was unfortunate to lose two county finals. I have come on in several matches and very often you find that defenders are getting tired and they do not like to see a young fresh player coming on with intentions to score.
“I find the finishing off of a movement the easiest part. You size up the options and depend on your natural instinct on how best to score. In the county semi-final I did get two late goals. For one of them Paul Clarke used his entire 6 foot 6 frame to win a ball in front of goal. He has great hands and all I had to do was to do a loop around giving him the hint to hold possession for a few vital seconds for me to get in to the best scoring position. Then he slipped a great ball to me and the rest was easy picking my spot. The shot is the part I find easiest. Opportunities present themselves and your instinct tells you how to move and where to move before you pull the trigger. I am delighted to be fully fit again after rehabbing all summer and look forward to a call from the bench on Sunday. Hopefully I will position myself well to stick the ball in the net.”
And his toughest opponent? “No doubt about that one for me is Payno. He is so tenacious and very hard to shake off. He would annoy the hell out of you with the defensive skills he has mastered over many years. He has been a great servant to Dr Crokes and I never remember him having a bad game.”
I expect South Kerry to set up defensively and deprive the Croke sharpshooters of possession. I am very impressed by wingback Robert Wharton from Renard and he has great back-up in Mark Griffin and Fionán Clifford. Midfield is a real high fielder’s paradise. Big Brendan O’Sullivan from Valentia and Bryan Sheehan come up against Johnny Buckley and probably Alan O’Sullivan. Matthew O’Sullivan the towering full forward did not have his usual big game in the semi-final so he can cause a lot of disruption in front of Crokes goal where John Payne, Fionn Fitzgerald and Mike Moloney will have to be on top of their games. It will be a tough one for Crokes but they have the better scoring forwards and that should be enough to see them win, with the caveat not to foul for Sheehan or he will punish the defenders.
Above: Dr Crokes management Pat O'Shea, Eddie O'Sullivan, Harry O'Neill and Niall O'Callaghan at the Dr Crokes press night ahead of the Kerry senior football county championship final. Picture: Eamonn Keogh
Ian makes his debut as a radio presenter
By Sean Moriarty Ian O’Connell said he is delighted with the messages of support following his first broadcast as a presenter on Radio Kerry this week. The well-known and popular Killarney man was left with life-changing injuries after falling from his bike in Killarney National Park in 2017. Since the accident he has been a […]
By Sean Moriarty
Ian O’Connell said he is delighted with the messages of support following his first broadcast as a presenter on Radio Kerry this week.
The well-known and popular Killarney man was left with life-changing injuries after falling from his bike in Killarney National Park in 2017.
Since the accident he has been a champion for the less fortunate under his mantra: “If you can’t stand up – standout”.
This was the inspiration behind his brand new radio show which aired for the first time on Wednesday evening.
‘Stand Out with Ian O’Connell’ will feature interviews with people who have overcome great adversary to reach even greater heights.
His first guest was fellow Killarney man Jordan Lee. The Paralympian represented Ireland in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
“I was used to being in the studio from people interviewing me, but this time I turned the table,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.
“It was great to have Jordan on, two Killarney men! I really enjoyed it, it got a massive reaction and I got loads of emails and messages afterwards and into Thursday morning.”
Ian will reveal his guest for the show on the previous Monday through various social media channels.
Sinead is queen of the court
By Con Dennehy With a mix of excitement, drama and impressive solo performances on offer, the Spa/Killarney Handball Tournament on Monday night showcased the best of upcoming talent in the sport. Competitions for Beginners and Advanced players at the magnificent Spa GAA facility has ensured the long term success of the sport in the greater […]
By Con Dennehy
With a mix of excitement, drama and impressive solo performances on offer, the Spa/Killarney Handball Tournament on Monday night showcased the best of upcoming talent in the sport.
Competitions for Beginners and Advanced players at the magnificent Spa GAA facility has ensured the long term success of the sport in the greater Killarney region.
One of the most impressive performances on the night was in the Beginners Category where local star Sinead Moriarty secured a number of electrifying victories to win the overall title.
“This was a very competitive competition. In the opening games Neill Horgan was defeated by Rosin King from Glenbeigh 13-15 with Sinead Moriarty getting the better of exchanges with Bríd Horgan (Spa) 15-8. In the other game Niamh Faulds from Glenflesk lost to Elena O’Donoghue (Spa) 15-10 despite a very brave effort from Niamh,” said Eoin O’Donoghue, secretary of Spa Killarney Handball Club.
In the semi-finals Sheila Kelliher lost to Elena O’Donoghue (Spa) 15-11 with Sinead Moriarty defeating Rosin King 15-12.
“In a pulsating final Sinead saw off the dogged challenge of Elena O’Donoghue 15-11. While Sinead dominated this game, she looked in control and played a brilliant tournament throughout and was a deserving overall winner.”
In the Advanced category there were wins for Evan Enright and Eoin O’Donoghue in the opening games.
In the quarter finals Even Enright saw off the challenge of Brendan O’Donoghue 15-8 while Eoghan Daly defeated Eoin O’Donoghue 15-11, Aoife Walsh (Currow) defeated Maggie Quirke (Glenbeigh) 15-7 and Brian McEvoy beat Michael Clifford 15-6.
Semi-final success for Evan Enright and Eoghan Daly saw them battle it out in a pulsating final with Daly taking the title on a 15-12 scoreline.
Ian makes his debut as a radio presenter
By Sean Moriarty Ian O’Connell said he is delighted with the messages of support following his first broadcast as a...
Sinead is queen of the court
By Con Dennehy With a mix of excitement, drama and impressive solo performances on offer, the Spa/Killarney Handball Tournament on...
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Relegation battle has town divided
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