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The County Final: Six things to watch out for

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1. Selection headaches for O’Shea

Although the majority of the Crokes starters are set in stone, there are definitely a few places up for grabs in Pat O’Shea’s County Final line-up.

In both the quarter final and semi-final, the Crokes failed to line out as selected so realistically we won’t know the actual team until they take to the field this afternoon.

Chris Brady was listed at full forward but didn’t feature in either of the last two games, while Kieran O’Leary was a late withdrawal from the West Kerry match due to injury. Shane Doolan was also left out despite being named at halfback as Luke Quinn, Michael Moloney and Tony Brosnan all played from the start. Jordan Kiely came off the bench and tucked away two tidy goals so he’s sure to be in the mix as well.

All of these lads will be hoping that they’ve done enough over the past couple of weeks to earn a place in the starting fifteen. In truth, the Crokes have so much strength in depth at the moment they could choose any combination of the aforementioned players and still have too much for most teams in the county.

2. Gooch is still the top dog

With all the controversy surrounding his testimonial, Colm Cooper’s expertly-taken goal in the semi-final was a timely reminder of his unique talent and what a great ambassador he has been for the GAA over the past 15 years or so.

And it wasn’t just a nostalgia-inducing cameo either. Gooch is Crokes’ top scorer in this year’s Championship with 4-14 in four games. Around half of those points have come from frees but even if you only count scores from play, the Kerry legend has still outgunned the rest of his teammates:

Colm Cooper: 4-14 (3-5 from play)

Daithí Casey: 3-8 (2-5 from play)

Kieran O’Leary: 3-4 (all from play)

He was named Man of the Match against West Kerry (which may have been a bit generous to be fair) but the 34-year-old’s influence on this Crokes team can’t be underestimated. Expect him to play a big role again.

3. Murphy’s perfect record

Crokes keeper Shane Murphy has been in imperious form. He was pivotal throughout his debut season in 2016 and remarkably he is yet to concede a goal in this year’s Championship. Of course, a lot of that has been down to the defenders in front of him but Murphy has been consistently excellent when called upon.

His kick-outs against West Kerry were phenomenal, so much so that a few spectators in the crowd were wondering aloud if he should be awarded Man of the Match.

In addition to his shot-stopping and distribution, Murphy is one of only three Crokes players (along with Cooper and Casey) to have scored in all four Championship games to date. He has kicked a 45 in each outing.

4. Can Bryan Sheehan drag his team over the line yet again?

Not for the first time in his long and storied career, the St Mary’s talisman was hugely instrumental in South Kerry’s narrow victory over Rahilly’s in the semi-final two weeks ago. He kicked three crucial points from play and would have had a goal but for an incredible goal-line block by Danny O’Sullivan in the 45th minute.

He might not be as deadly a free-taker as he once was but he still has the character and skill to carry his team through the toughest of battles. Sheehan will need to be at his inspirational best if South Kerry are to pull off a shock upset.

5. History favours South Kerry

Recent form points to only one winner but a quick glance at the history books reveals one worrying statistic for the Crokes. The men from Lewis Road have only lost three of the nine finals they’ve reached since the year 2000, and all three defeats came at the hands of South Kerry.

Eleven of the current panel were involved in the most recent of those finals back in 2009. That particular loss was somewhat of a watershed moment as that group of players went on to win four in a row but there are certainly still a few ghosts to be laid to rest from a Crokes point of view.

Victory for Crokes would bring them level with Austin Stacks and Laune Rangers as the most successful teams in the history of the County Championship (twelve titles).

6. What do the bookies think?

South Kerry lifted the Bishop Moynihan Cup as recently as 2015 and have been far and away the second most successful team in Kerry over the past twenty years or so, yet Crokes are still overwhelming favourites to prevail.

Their price of 1/5 might seem a bit crazy for a County Final but Crokes have a proven track record of overpowering teams in big games. In fact, I would imagine there will be no shortage of punters backing them in the handicap (-5.0) at 11/10.

As always, I suppose the best tip is to keep your money in your pocket.

 


 
Above: Tony Brosnan, Dr Crokes, battles for possession with Cian O'Murchu, West Kerry, in the Kerry Senior County Football championship semi-final. Pic: Eamonn Keogh

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Staff and students highlight important message

By Michelle Crean Local students went to great efforts on Friday last to highlight a very important message about inclusion. Staff and students in Killarney Community College came together for ‘Stand Up Awareness Week’ as part of a national campaign where second-level schools take a stand against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. All staff wore […]

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By Michelle Crean

Local students went to great efforts on Friday last to highlight a very important message about inclusion.

Staff and students in Killarney Community College came together for ‘Stand Up Awareness Week’ as part of a national campaign where second-level schools take a stand against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

All staff wore a rainbow colour and students wore rainbow coloured accessories to show their support for the campaign as Killarney Community College is a diverse, inclusive, accepting, and welcoming safe space for everyone.

The majority of students made a particularly great effort in terms of wearing rainbow coloured accessories were awarded house points.

During the week, the LGBTI+ flag was hanging proudly in the school canteen. Transition Years decorated the General Purpose area with informative posters, and in SPHE classes, students learned about LGBTI+ terminology and history.

“It’s important that school is a safe and inclusive place for anyone attending regardless of their race, sex, religion or sexuality,” Principal, Stella Loughnane, said.

“I’m delighted that our school community marked the occasion and brought great colour while highlighting a very important message. One of the key words of our mission statement is inclusion making this awareness day a very apt one.”

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Donation to be made in memory of Johnny Batt

By Sean Moriarty Spa GAA remembered one of their most loyal members this week when his beloved club donated to a Kerry charity. Club stalwart Johnny Batt Cronin, who was steeped in Spa GAA club history, passed away in September 2019 after a battle with cancer. An outstanding footballer, he won seven O’Donoghue Cup medals […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Spa GAA remembered one of their most loyal members this week when his beloved club donated to a Kerry charity.

Club stalwart Johnny Batt Cronin, who was steeped in Spa GAA club history, passed away in September 2019 after a battle with cancer.

An outstanding footballer, he won seven O’Donoghue Cup medals with Spa as well as a county Intermediate Championship medal in 1974 and a County League Division One title two years later.

He was also a member of the star-studded East Kerry divisional side that won the inaugural All-Ireland Club Championship in 1971.

When he hung up his boots, Johnny trained and coached many underage teams and was honoured with a hugely deserved lifetime achievement award by his beloved Spa GAA Club in 2015.

He was also a champion card player, winning the Spa Championship of Kerry 31 Card Drive on two occasions.

After his passing, Spa GAA wanted to run a 31 Card Drive in his memory and to raise funds for the Oncology Department in University Hospital Kerry.

The Card Drive was postponed on several occasions due to the pandemic – and while some of the earlier rounds were completed by early 2020 – it was not possible to complete the competition that has now been cancelled completely due to ongoing crowd gathering concerns.

“A number of teams had entered this Card Drive competition (two people per team) and it started in early 2020 and most but not all of the early rounds did get played,” club PRO, Deirdre O’Sullivan Darcy, said.

“When COVID-19 hit they delayed the next stages of the competition.”

Nevertheless, teams had paid entry fees and it was decided to handover the funds raised to the Comfort for Chemo charity at the Oncology Department in University Hospital Kerry.

Members of the organising team met this week to reveal the winners of spot prizes had the event gone ahead. The money will be handed over next week to the charity when the final amount is totalled.

“They kept delaying and postponing but at this point have decided to cancel it completely and make the donation for the money that was collected at the time,” added Deirdre.

WINNERS

The prize-winning teams are:

€100 voucher for the Great Southern Killarney: John Kerins and Tim McCarthy
€100 voucher for the Great Southern Killarney: Con Lynch and Alan Cronin
€100 voucher for the Great Southern Killarney: Finbarr Godfrey and Tim Regan
€50 voucher (each) for Killarney Carpet & Furniture Centre: Seanie Kelliher and Connie Doolan
Bottle of whiskey and bottle of wine: Peter Cahill and Barry Duggan

The club also thanked event sponsors: Skellig Hotel Dingle, Kennelly’s Pharmacy, Hegarty’s Spar Muckross Road, Daly’s SuperValu, Killarney Oil, O’Leary’s Electrical, Paul Herlihy Contractor, Liam Chute, Killarney Oaks Hotel and Bowler’s Centra.

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