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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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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching

Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]

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Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.

This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.

“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.

“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”

The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.

To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.

For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: kerrymhwfest20@gmail.com.

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Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry

  11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]

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11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.

The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.

Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.

Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.

Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.

For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.

Helpline

Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

 

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