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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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How to boost your immune system with nutrition

By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability. While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, […]

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By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness

The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability.

While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, there are ways to keep your immune system strong so that you are better prepared to fight off infections and heal quickly.

As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there, but if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can’t fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill.

Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. Here are five ways to ensure you support a good immune system coming into the wintery months:

1. Eat More Vegetables

While all vegetables have health benefits, some pack a more powerful immune-boosting punch than others. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections.

2. Eat Balanced Meals

Include all macronutrients in your meals. Protein is particularly important for healing and recovery. Protein sources include leaner sources of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, beans, soy, nuts and seeds. These foods are also good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes healthy immune function and aids in wound healing. Healthy fats are also essential to support our immune health. Try to include a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. These are found in avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide good fats but are also rich in phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. For example, a small handful of nuts such as almonds is a great source of vitamin E. Wild-caught salmon is one of the only foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Fatty fish are also rich in essential fats called omega-3s, which are known for their multiple health benefits.

3. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the main aspects that support a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against a variety of diseases. And just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system, improves blood circulation allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

4. Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. The lack of sleep puts your body into ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing adrenaline and increased stress hormones into the body. Research shows that in general, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health and well-being. As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body. A few tips for getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine in the evenings, turning off your screens (TV, laptop, phones, etc.) well before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

5. Manage Your Stress

You may not often think about how stress affects your ability to fight off infection, but your state of mind can have a significant impact on your health. When you are experiencing more stress, your immunity is compromised, which puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Managing stress may help you fight germs and infections. Stress management techniques include breath work, meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walking etc. Having a support system of close friends and family can also help us feel connected and stay strong throughout stressful times.

Although there is no magical potion for immunity, you can take these five steps to boost your immune system which is very important as we enter the colder and darker mornings of winter. Don’t underestimate your lifestyle’s impact on your ability to help keep your immune system strong. Good nutrition, quality sleep, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your health. If you need help with your nutrition, send us an email at nutrition@activate.ie and we will be happy to help you!

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Ireland’s newest and toughest cycle will be a thrilling challenge

Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist. Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare […]

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Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist.

Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare will tackle some of Kerry’s toughest climbs and highest mountain passes.

Taking place on October 22, Velo Kenmare is an 135km timed loop route starting and finishing in Kenmare. The total climbing distance is 1,650m, and organisers hope to appeal to serious cyclists who are looking for a new and thrilling challenge.

No stranger to cycling events, Velo Kenmare is being managed by Elite Events Management, who also successfully deliver iconic cycling events Wicklow 200, Ride Dingle and the Ring of Beara Cycle.
Cyclists are encouraged to register for Velo Kenmare on the Velo Cycle Ireland website www.velocycleireland.ie but places are limited for the enjoyment and safety of all participants, and anyone interested is urged to sign up soon as places are filling up.

TOUGH CLIMBS

​​​​The tough enough mountain climbs are over Molls Gap, Ballaghbeama Pass, Ballaghasheen and Coomakista. The route will take in breathtaking scenery Kenmare is famous for, and incorporating some of the most stunning parts of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of Kerry. It is hoped visitors to the cycle event will be encouraged to stay for a few days, and will all be given €20 vouchers or ‘Velo Dollars’ to spend in local shops which will be redeemable against goods and services in Kenmare.

Riders will be allotted a time slot to allow for a staggered start, taking them along a fully marshalled route, with medical cover, bike mechanic support, and hot food and entertainment at the finish in Kenmare.

Making its mark, Velo Kenmare participant race packs will come inside a yellow Velo Kenmare water bottle and finishers’ medals are in the shape of a yellow cow bell. Prizes will be awarded for the quickest top three male and top three female finishers, and fastest male and female will be awarded the title of King and Queen of the Kerry Mountains.

Experienced cyclists are encouraged to take on this exciting new challenge, testing themselves and their clubmates for the fastest finish across these four gruelling climbs, through some of the most beautiful landscape in the country for the best welcome back at the finish.

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