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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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Are you getting enough sleep?

By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed. Incorporating a […]

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By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness

We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed.

Incorporating a routine helps to bring direction and structure, and as Craig Ballantyne so wonderfully put it in his book ‘The Perfect Day’; “Structure = Freedom”.

In our childhood, we became accustomed to a bedtime routine. In fact, those of us who are parents go to great lengths to create this routine for our own children, knowing the benefits it brings. However, as we moved into adulthood, that same routine was thrown out the window by the demanding world of school and full-time work.

Sleep and health are locked together. When we improve our sleep, we have better energy, mood, and recover easier from exercise. When we sleep better it helps us to make better nutrition choices because sleep regulates our hormones. Yet it’s one of the first things we sacrifice in order to get through our full to-do list. Whatever these or our end goal is, jeopardising our health seems to be counterproductive and also just a little crazy! Why is it that as adults we stray so far away from one of the very foundational rituals that can keep us feeling grounded?

So how much sleep do you need? About six to eight hours is good but the exact number depends on the person. No matter who you are, you’ll feel worn out if you don’t get enough.

Here are some suggestions to help you achieve greater balance and a sound night’s sleep:

Limit caffeine:

It takes a long time for caffeine to get out of your system, so avoid it late in the day. Typically, have your last caffeinated drink 10 hours before your bedtime.

Be active:

Physical activity reduces stress and improves sleep. One exception is not to do a hard workout right before bed as it might be tough to wind down for a while afterwards.

Unwind early:

Turn off screens well before bedtime. Bright screens can mess with your body’s sleep mechanisms, so turn off TV’s, tablets and smartphones earlier in the evening. Take the dog out, brush your teeth, get into your pyjamas, and get into bed before the time you want to be asleep.

Brain dump for the next day:

Spend 5-10 minutes each night writing a list of to-do items to ensure you hit the pillow feeling organised and in control.

Set out your clothes the evening before:

This small task can save you a lot of last-minute rushing. Take the extra five minutes now when you have it.

Cool, dark and quiet:

When it comes to sleep, you want it cool, dark and quiet. Adjust the temperature or get a fan going, hang some blackout curtains and try to reduce any noise near your bedroom.

Buy an alarm clock:

This will help you to avoid being distracted by notifications should you wake and check the time in the middle of the night. Set an alarm right now for tonight. When it goes off, start your evening routine so you get into bed on time for a good night’s sleep!

Here at Activate, we promote and encourage balance to ensure we are living a happy and healthy life. Sleep is one very essential and key component of this. We hope these tips help you get some much-needed rest! When you combine great sleep with sound nutrition and solid training, you’ll feel amazing and make more progress toward your goals.

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Kerry Stars “pursuing dream to build own sports centre”

By Sean Moriarty Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser. The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds. However, the project remains […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser.

The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds.

However, the project remains on the long finger as the club has been concentrating on the safety of its members throughout the pandemic.

The delay prompted Cllr Donal Grady to ask Kerry County Council if it had any plans to build houses on the site.

Mr Grady asked the question in the context of making sure the land did not go to waste and not in opposition to any plans by Kerry Stars.

“The site referred to was originally identified as a potential site for development as a specific sports facility. That project has not materialised,” a Council official said.

“Kerry Stars had been in contact with Kerry County Council regarding use of the site, and it was expected that further communication would be received from them in the very short-term. As yet, Kerry County Council is awaiting further communication and will liaise directly with the Kerry Stars group before we can give consideration to use of the lands under the ‘Housing for All’ housing plan.”

However, Kerry Stars chairman John Spillane said they still “have every intention of pursuing our dream of have our own sports centre”.

“The location makes perfect sense, it is the sports hub of Killarney and all the clubs there could help and learn from each other.”

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