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CLUB FINAL PREVIEW: The long road to Croker

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All-Ireland Club Final

Dr Crokes v Corofin

Sunday at 3.45pm

Croke Park

 

The road to Croke Park is ridiculously long for club teams. Sunday’s clash between Dr Crokes and Corofin will be the final act in a season that effectively started 14 months ago. And, psychologically speaking, the journey to this decisive match began even further back than that for the Lewis Road club. It really all started on the 26th of November 2017.

 

That was the day that Cork side Nemo Rangers shocked the GAA world by bringing to an abrupt end Crokes’ dream of retaining their All-Ireland title. Defeats like that, when you just don’t turn up, lead to a lot of soul-searching and at the time Pat O’Shea’s players could be forgiven for allowing some self-doubt to creep into their psyche.

 

As successful as the club had been in Kerry and Munster, particularly since the turn of the century, it took them 25 years to finally get over that line and win their second All-Ireland in 2017. Who was to say that it wouldn’t take another five, or 10, or even 25 years to get back there again? Certain older players might have considered leaving on a high after that victory over Slaughtneil. Had they made a mistake by staying on? And was now the right time to call it a day?

 

Crokes had an uncomfortably long winter to ruminate on these questions and plenty of rivals hoped against hope that Nemo had exposed a chink in their armour. No one was saying it too loudly but maybe the top club in Kerry were a little bit vulnerable heading into the 2018 season. If Nemo can outplay them like that, why not Dingle, or South Kerry, or Legion, or Rahilly’s?

 

2018

The season got off to an inauspicious start for the Crokes when they drew 0-9 to 0-9 with Glenbeigh in the opening round of the County League but they went on a rampage thereafter, winning the Club Championship and powering their way to the top Division 1 with string of comprehensive victories.

 

By the time the County Championship rolled around, Dr Crokes were overwhelming favourites to retain the competition. A few eyebrows were raised, however, when they came mightily close to a Round 1 defeat to rank outsiders St Kieran’s in Killarney. The Black and Amber trailed by four points as the game entered the final quarter but they rallied to register eight of the final 10 scores to break the visitors’ hearts.

 

All appeared to be back to normal in Round 2 when they held a commanding nine-point lead over Kerins O’Rahilly’s but what happened next threatened to throw their entire season into disarray. Rahilly’s came out of nowhere to score 3-4 in the last 10 minutes and send shockwaves around the county. Crokes weren’t out – they had the safety net of the losers’ round to fall back on – but could they recover from such a traumatic collapse?

 

Seven days later, they delivered an answer in emphatic fashion. The Killarney side racked up a whopping 3-28 against 14-man An Ghaeltacht in the Park as Tony Brosnan grabbed national headlines by scoring 1-14 (1-10 from play) with zero wides.

 

The holders were equally dominant in the quarters, defeating crosstown rivals Legion with plenty to spare, and two weeks later they got some revenge when they defeated Rahilly’s by nine points in Tralee.

 

In the final against Dingle, a late Gavin White goal sealed another Kerry SFC crown for the Crokes, their seventh since 2010, and by this stage they were really rolling.

 

From Moyle to Mullinalaghta

You can only beat what’s put in front of you but for the Crokes, the 2018 Munster title came just about as easily as a provincial title can come. The Kerry champions defeated Moyle Rovers (Tipperary), St Finbarr’s (Cork) and St Joseph’s Miltown-Malbay (Clare) by an average winning margin of 15.3 points to secure their spot in the All-Ireland semi-final against the champions of Leinster.

 

Kilmacud of Dublin were expected to advance from that particular side of the draw but plucky Mullinalaghta had other ideas, becoming the first club from Longford to win Leinster with an emotional two-point win in Tullamore.

 

The whole country was caught up in the Mullinalaghta fairytale and for a brief period in the first half of the semi-final, it appeared as though the Crokes were about to get caught up in it too. In fairness to the Munster champs, they weathered a stormy first half before finding their feet in the second, thanks in part to the excellent David Shaw who filled in for Johnny Buckley in midfield.

 

Buckley was controversially red-carded in the 21st minute but that decision was subsequently overturned at a hearing, clearing him to play in the All-Ireland final on St Patrick’s Day.

 

The Decider

So all of that has led us to Sunday and the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Final in Croke Park. Dr Crokes’ opponents are holders Corofin from Galway who will be appearing in their third final in four years.

 

That unquestionable pedigree has them slight favourites with the bookies and I must admit, I’ve been really impressed with them every time I’ve seen them play. They adopt a fairly positive approach and in Ian Burke and Gary Sice they have two really clever and creative forwards who can cause problems for any defence in the country.

 

When you consider that Crokes’ defensive frailties have been well documented in recent times, you can certainly see a player of Burke’s calibre getting some joy in the (apocryphal) wide open spaces of Croke Park.

 

I do, however, think that the Crokes have the better forwards overall and I would be surprised if they didn’t post another decent score between them on Sunday.

 

In the full forward line, Tony Brosnan, Kieran O’Leary and David Shaw have been in serious form and further out the field, I thought Brian Looney and Gavin O’Shea had really impressive semi-finals. I think it’s fair to say that Micheál Burns wasn’t quite at his electrifying best last time out but there’s no denying that he has become a very important player over the past year or two, and he certainly has the potential to play a key role in the final.

 

There’s a strong likelihood that the midfield battle will prove decisive. Daithí Casey and Johnny Buckley are undoubtedly two of Dr Crokes’ most influential players and if they can get the upper hand around the middle third and get a steady supply of possession into the hands Brosnan, Leary and Shaw, Crokes will have a great chance of emerging victorious.

 

Prediction: Dr Crokes by one.

 

Dr Crokes starters (predicted): 1 Shane Murphy, 2 John Payne, 3 Michael Moloney, 4 Fionn Fitzgerald, 5 David O’Leary, 6 Gavin White, 7 Shane Doolan, 8 Johnny Buckley, 9 Daithí Casey, 10 Micheál Burns, 11 Gavin O’Shea, 12 Brian Looney, 13 David Shaw, 14 Kieran O’Leary, 15 Tony Brosnan. Subs (predicted): Michael Potts, Alan O’Sullivan, Colm Cooper, Eoin Brosnan and Jordan Kiely.

 

Corofin starters (predicted): 1 Bernard Power, 2 Cathal Silke, 3 Kieran Fitzgerald, 4 Liam Silke, 5 Kieran Molloy, 6 Dylan McHugh, 7 Dylan Wall, 8 Daithí Burke, 9 Ronan Steede, 10 Gary Sice, 11 Mike Farragher, 12 Jason Leonard, 13 Martin Farragher, 14 Ian Burke, 15 Micheál Lundy. Subs (predicted): Gavin Burke, Colin Brady, Conor Cunningham, Ciarán McGrath and Dylan Canney.

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Garda appeal to park legally at beaches and public amenities

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An Garda Siochana is appealing to the public to park legally in designated car parks and spaces when visiting beaches, beauty spots and other public amenities. 

The good weather has seen an increase in dangerous illegal parking at these locations across the country in recent weeks. An Garda Siochana wants people to enjoy the summer but do so safely.

Parking illegally can lead to unnecessary risk and dangers such as pedestrians being forced to walk along dangerous roads. It can also prevent emergency services from gaining access to these amenities a seaside locations which could lead to the loss of life. 

“We encourage the public to plan their journeys and think safety first when parking your vehicle,” the Gardai said in a statement. 

“The outcome of parking illegally could be far more serious than a FCPN or vehicle towing and puts others and your own life at risk. 

An Garda Siochana reminds and encourages the public to social distance and follow public health guidelines when attending these locations this Summer.

An Garda Siochana is also supporting National Water Safety Awareness Week (June 14th – 20th). Information on this campaign and general water safety can be found on Water Safety Irelands Website – www.watersafety.ie/national-water-safety-awareness-week/

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IFTA nomination for Jessie Buckley

By Michelle Crean  Killarney’s Jessie Buckley is up for an award as the 2021 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) nominations were announced this week. Jessie has been nominated as Best Actress in a Lead Role Film category for her work in Charlie Kaufman’s surreal ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’. Winners will be announced at […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Killarney’s Jessie Buckley is up for an award as the 2021 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) nominations were announced this week.

Jessie has been nominated as Best Actress in a Lead Role Film category for her work in Charlie Kaufman’s surreal ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’. Winners will be announced at a virtual IFTA awards ceremony which will be broadcast on Virgin Media One on Sunday, July 4.

Other well-known Irish actors up for awards include Brendan Gleeson for ‘The Comey Rule’, Paul Mescal for ‘Normal People’, Dervla Kirwan ‘Smother’ and Gabriel Byrne for ‘Death of a Ladies Man’.

Over the past few months during lockdown, the Irish Academy Members have been busy viewing, deliberating, and shortlisting the very best work from across great Irish films, performances, and achievements.

Nominations have been shortlisted by Irish Academy members alongside a specialist jury panel of industry experts from around the world.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no physical IFTA Awards Ceremony until March 2022, in keeping with COVID guidelines and best international practice.

Further details about the show and the international guest participants will be announced shortly.

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Four week wait for Dublin/Kerry replacement airline

By Sean Moriarty  It will take at least four weeks before a replacement airline can cover the Dublin/Kerry route following the sudden collapse of Stobart Air last weekend. However, it is not all bad news for Kerry Airport as Ryanair will resume its Kerry Stansted service from today (Friday). The budget airline is advancing plans […]

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By Sean Moriarty
 

It will take at least four weeks before a replacement airline can cover the Dublin/Kerry route following the sudden collapse of Stobart Air last weekend.

However, it is not all bad news for Kerry Airport as Ryanair will resume its Kerry Stansted service from today (Friday).

The budget airline is advancing plans to resume all its Kerry services with the Frankfurt Hahn route set to be the first international service on July 18.

All other routes including Berlin, Faro, Alicante and Manchester will return bit by bit once international travel restrictions are lifted.

The Killarney Advertiser understands that up to eight airlines have expressed an interest in taking over the Dublin/Kerry route.

Airport staff were left reeling last Saturday morning when it emerged that Stobart Air had collapsed.

The UK airline operated the Dublin/Kerry franchise on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional. It had seven months left to run on its contract with Isle of Man based carrier Ettyl due to take over the route later this year. It has since been confirmed that Ettyl does not have the necessary funding in place to take over the service.

As a result, Kerry Airport will be left without a Dublin connection for the best part of four weeks. It is expected that Aer Lingus will take over the route for the remainder of Stobart’s seven month contract.

“This may seem like a long time, but in airline terms and because it is a Government funded route, this is actually very fast, faster than ever imagined,” Airport CEO, John Mulhern, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“This is being done as fast as humanly possible. The Government was able to put all its bureaucracy aside and make this happen. Thanks to Norma Foley, Brendan Griffin and Pa Daly, they were all on the case at 6am last Saturday morning. We are happy things are happening so fast – we are not happy to lose Stobart, they were a great airline and great friends – but happy to see solutions are coming so quickly.”

Thanks to the efforts of local politicians, the procurement process for finding an alternative airline has been speeded up. Tender documents are expected to be published early next week – much sooner than normal circumstances – and at least eight airlines have already expressed an interest in the route.

Meanwhile, Ryanair’s return to normality continues at Kerry Airport. The Luton service has been operating on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the last two weeks.

The Stansted service is due to return today (Friday) and will operate Mondays and Fridays for the foreseeable future. German services will resume next month.

“Ryanair will start with Frankfurt Hahn and as they slowly get back on their feet all other services, Berlin, Manchester, Faro and Alicante, will return,” added Mr Mulhern.

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