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




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.



The same but different – A tribute to three great Irish musicians



Driving home from work last Friday, tributes for Shane McGowan were pouring out across the radio stations and while listening in, I got a strong sense of déjà vu.

It was only a few months earlier that we got the sad news that the talented Aslan front man Christy Dingham had passed away, and a short few weeks after that – Sinéad O’Connor.  The loss of three iconic Irish musicians that left music fans across the country reeling.

When I think about each artist individually, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Yet, for days after the passing of the Pogues frontman, I found myself wondering why I was so drawn to all three.

And then, over the weekend I stumbled across a completely unrelated article which led with a headline:

“In a year dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and disingenuity, “authentic” has somehow emerged as Merriam-Webster’s word for 2023.”

And there was my answer. The one characteristic that embodied all three of these great Irish musicians.

It was my mother that first introduced me to Aslan’s music. She grew up during their peak and loved all sorts of rock music. I regularly watch their Vicar Street performances back on YouTube and still get mesmerised by Christy’s intense stage presence. Using elaborate hand gestures to evoke a greater meaning behind the words, he always looked like he was away in his own world. Off stage, and particularly later in his career, I admired him for his honesty when talking about his struggles with addiction and mental health. He was talking openly about these issues long before it was the norm.

Sinéad O’Connor was another original soul who, because of her talent, was catapulted into a music industry consumed by artificiality; she was almost too pure for it all. I always admired her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Her authenticity was evident in every aspect of her artistry. The way she unapologetically embraced her shaved head and boy-ish style, she challenged conventional opinions around beauty. Her music reflected her personal struggles and she never shied away from addressing issues of social injustice, religion, and gender equality. Her stances often drew criticism and controversy, but she always remained true to herself.

Shane MacGowan will always be remembered for his unfiltered nature, and while the lyrics of many songs were dark and gritty, there was also an element of empathy and compassion in what he wrote. Like Christy, he too struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout his career. While his demons sometimes spilled over into the public eye, his honesty and vulnerability just endeared him even more to us Irish.

So isn’t it apt in a year we lost three great musicians, the word of 2023 happens to be the one undeniable trait that they all shared. Thank you Christy, Sinead and Shane for showing us that authenticity is not just about being different to everyone else; but also about possessing the courage to challenge the established, to question the norms, and to keep going, even when the going gets tough.


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Full employment, minimum wage set to rise, but locals still feeling the pinch!



Warning: This article does not come with the usual bells, whistles and Christmas cheer you would expect at this time of the year.

Last week we asked our readers to take part in our Killarney Town Pulse Survey. We wanted to get a better understanding of local consumer sentiment and to get an snapshot of other issues impacting our standard of living. See a summary of our findings below.


So, jobs are aplenty, the minimum wage is set to increase in 2024 and yet according to our findings, locals are not too optimistic about the year ahead.

Just 1 in 10 people reported that they are better off now than they were a year ago. Only 16% expect the economy to be in a better place this time next year and there seems to be widespread dissatisfaction with how the government are tackling key issues affecting our standard of living.

Hasn’t everything gone so expensive?

If I got a euro for every time I heard this the over the past 12 months I certainly wouldn’t be feeling the pinch myself! Generally speaking, people do not like to talk about their personal finances but people’s behaviour is changing under the current climate. We are so frustrated with the cost of everything we are venting at home, in the office, and even while out for dinner with friends. It is not a dig at local business, I know plenty of small businesses struggling to keep their heads above water too.

Inflation is a concern but the real worry is where prices will land

Consumers and businesses are dealing with higher interest rates that have come as a result of the Central Bank trying to tame inflation. Loan products such as mortgages and car loans are more expensive. The noise coming from these issues alone is enough to drown out any positive aspects of the economy.

Stubbornly high inflation is a concern for policy makers, but for the average Joe, we are more concerned about where prices will eventually fall back to. We can deal with some short term pain but with inflation stabilising and some early signs it may even be falling, a large percentage of our survey respondents expect prices to continue to rise. This is backed up by many economists predicting prices will never return to what they were.

It’s not clear how much wage increases have played into higher prices up to now but there is a general consensus that where business margins are tight, higher wages for workers will lead to sustained higher prices for consumers 

Government is failing on issues impacting our standard of living

Research published by the National Youth Council of Ireland last week showed that more than 7 in 10 young people aged 18-24 are considering moving abroad because they think they would enjoy a better quality of life elsewhere. We asked a similar question to locals in our survey and more than 50% of Killarney locals said that either they, or someone they know, is considering moving abroad. This is a sad indictment of our country today.

The pace of housing delivery is dampening young people’s hopes of owning their own home and is even making renting unaffordable. It is not just impacting the youth however, I know of business owners in Killarney where housing shortages are impacting their ability to attract and retain talent, Businesses can’t afford to pay them a wage that allows them to comfortably rent and live in Killarney.  

At the start of September we were reading about a major teacher shortage across the country. Graduate múinteoirí are now ditching Ireland for the Middle-East where their accommodation is often subsidised and their take-home-pay benefits from a largely tax-free society. 

This Wednesday we witnessed a staff walk out at UHK in protest of a recruitment ban in place by the HSE. Reports claim that there are over 90 clerical positions waiting to be filled at the hospital. It is no wonder with all of these added pressures that our nurses and doctors are heading Down Under for warmer weather and better pay and while you couldn’t begrudge them, the drain of health workers in Ireland is leaving those left behind working in stressful and sometimes dangerous conditions.  

It’s the uncertainty

The economy is in a strange place at the moment, we are not sure if it is growing, slowing or shrinking. It kind of feels like we are dangling off the edge of a cliff and one big gust of wind could  push us over the edge. The preferred outcome is that we will be pulled back to safer ground but can this government gets to grips with the major issues impacting our standard of living and get the cost of living down to a more tolerable level?


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