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“Defeat in Super 8s opener would be an absolute disaster”

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On paper there shouldn’t be a whole pile of pressure on Kerry ahead of their first ever Super 8 game against Galway on Sunday. With two teams advancing from the group of four, the prospect of Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side crashing out at what is effectively the quarter final stage seems even more unlikely than usual. But looking at the wider picture (and Kerry’s second fixture in particular), this weekend’s clash against the Connacht champions takes on huge significance.

If they were to lose this weekend, next week’s match against Monaghan in Clones would start to look a lot more intimidating than it already does. In normal circumstances you’d expect Kerry to handle Monaghan but I wouldn’t fancy heading up to St Tiernach’s Park for a must-win championship game. The atmosphere above there would be electric, especially if the home fans knew that victory would eliminate the Kingdom.

Monaghan are best placed of all the qualifiers to upset the apple cart and make it to an All-Ireland semi-final. They couldn’t have handpicked their Super 8 fixtures better themselves. Firstly, they avoided Dublin. Secondly, they got their toughest game (Kerry) at home. And thirdly, they sidestepped a trip to the fabled Newbridge and instead got Galway away.

The fixture gods are really smiling on Monaghan this year; they played three qualifier games to make it this far and every one of them was against Division 4 opposition.

Defeat for Kerry on Sunday definitely isn’t out of the question. Galway are no slouches. Forwards Shane Walsh and Ian Burke have impressed so far and the face-off between star man Damien Comer and Kerry’s Peter Crowley will be an interesting one. I would say that 3/1 is a long enough price for Galway considering the calibre of players they have. I thought Kerry have looked excellent at times this year but, realistically, the Munster Championship was a walk in the park.

Having said that, they still racked up 3-50 in two games and I think this Kerry team already have too much about them for everyone else in the country bar Dublin.

World Cup clash

Kerry v Galway is without question the tie of the round, which makes it all the more unbelievable that the GAA scheduled it for the exact same time as the World Cup final. I know I addressed this last week but it really does beggar belief. Could both Sunday games not have started earlier? Or could Dublin v Donegal have been a standalone on the Sunday? That game is on at 7pm on the Saturday, meaning Donegal fans have to hit the road at around half eight at night. Making fixtures is a thankless task but there’s no way in hell the GAA made these decisions with supporters in mind.

I saw during the week that the Galway County Board wrote to FIFA requesting that they push back the kick-off time of the World Cup final so it wouldn’t clash with the Kerry game. FIFA would be missing out on viewers, they said. I know it’s top, top banter and it must have taken them ages to write (typos and all) but the real joke here is on genuine Irish sports fans who are interested in both football and soccer.

I naturally want to see the World Cup final (especially considering who’s playing), and I would almost consider boycotting the Kerry game just to spite the GAA in this instance, but I’m up in Dublin anyway and I actually want to see the lads play. For many of us in Croke Park on Sunday, it will be our first time missing a World Cup final. It’s a shame because this fixture clash was completely avoidable.

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The Irish investment market is pathetic

By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com    I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations. But over the last few weeks I […]

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By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com   

I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations.

But over the last few weeks I have been putting together several investment strategies for Irish-domiciled clients. It has been eye-opening, to say the least.

In short, most of the Irish market appears to be dominated by a handful of life insurance companies that offer ‘wrapped’ Multi Asset Funds. This means they offer a basket of stocks, bonds, property etc., all within one investment.

Irish Life’s MAPs 4 multi-asset fund states a standard annual management charge of 1.15%. A bit on the higher side for my liking, but this is still manageable.

But when you dig a little deeper, the KID documents (where all fees have to be fully disclosed as part of UCITS regulations) show the fee as 2.2%.

Double the quoted price

As an added bonus, they lock your money up for seven years, where an early encashment charge is waiting for those who wish to withdraw their money early. That’s right, they charge YOU for making your money inaccessible.

This lock-up period is a shrewd business tactic. An exit charge is an excellent way to ensure customers don’t leave when they realise how poor the performance is.

Too late, you’re trapped.

Performance

Fees become more digestible provided the performance is strong, but unfortunately, the misery continues.

The Irish Life MAPS 4 Portfolio has an annual return of 1.63% a year over the last five years. Granted, this was a challenging market climate to navigate, but falling below even the lowest expectations of inflation means that this fund has returned negative real returns after inflation over the last five years.

A similar 60/40 portfolio made up of passive index funds (S&P 500 and US T bonds) would have returned roughly 6.5% a year over the same period for a fee of roughly 0.1%.

We can go round and round in circles regarding the ‘risk adjusted’ approach and the added ‘diversification’ of the multi-asset fund versus the 60/40 portfolio I have shown. But the reality is much of this so-called diversification is over-engineering for an extra cost for many long term investors.

So, how can such pathetic offerings still exist in a system where low-cost operators such as De Giro are providing endless ETF options and commission-free trades that provide access to market returns at a fraction of the price?

Two reasons spring to mind

Firstly, the Irish retail investment scene is built on a financial broker commission system where unsuspecting customers are shoved into these products by ‘financial planners’ who receive kickbacks and commissions from these investment companies. You think you’re getting free investment advice; believe me, you’re not.

Second, the tax treatment of ETF structures is comical in Ireland, and US ETFs aren’t even an investment option. A 41% exit tax and an eight-year deemed disposal rule leaves investors stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Choose an overpriced, underperforming product that locks your money away for multiple years or choose the cheaper, better-performing product and suffer the tax consequences.

Bizarrely, investors are forced to make decisions based on preferential tax treatment rather than on the underlying investment’s merits.

I have gone into much more detail on the tax treatment and investment options in Ireland on my website. Just scan the QR code.

If you would like me to independently review your investment portfolio, just send me an email at mike@theislandinvestor.com.

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Rebel lights delight for Killarney star

By Con Dennehy The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball […]

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By Con Dennehy

The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball championships.

Attracting all the leading players in Ireland, it was Sarah Dineen, the Spa/Killarney player who shot out the Rebel lights in Conna with a phenomenal display of handball.

Competing in the highly competitive Ladies Challenger championship, the Killarney player, who took up the sport just 18 months ago, had the perfect start in the competition defeating the home town favourite Agnes Hurley from Conna on a 21-20 scoreline following an energy sapping and close encounter that hung in the balance to the final ace.

In her second game she took on the challenge of Nolwenn Even from St Brigids where her skill, superior fitness and movement on the court resulted in the 21-12 victory and a place in the prestigious final.

“The final was always going to be a difficult game not least playing local girl Kate O’Riordan from Conna. I concentrated on my serve and kill shots which ensured we shared the aces early in the game. It was a difficult game with the home supporters out in force to cheer on their local hero. However, I played well and secured a 21-11 victory. This was the second time this title came to Spa Killarney following the 2022 win by Aoife Walsh in Northern Ireland,” said Sarah, who is currently chairperson of the Killarney Camogie Club.

A native of Westmeath, Sarah (46) runs a jewellery business in Killarney and lives in Rathmore. No stranger to competitive sport she played camogie for Westmeath and Leinster and also won an Intermediate championship Gaelic football medal in Westmeath.

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