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Dirty January win bodes well for Keane

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Peter Keane’s reign got off to the perfect start with a solid win against Tyrone on Sunday and while it wasn’t vintage Kerry by any stretch of the imagination, the manner of the victory certainly bodes well for rest of the year.

You would have expected a dirty day in January to suit Mickey Harte’s Tyrone more than Keane’s experimental-looking Kerry side but the hosts really got stuck in, much to the delight of the unseasonably boisterous home crowd.

There seems to be this notion that Kerry supporters are Gaelic football’s great elitists, that we demand free-flowing, attack-minded football at all costs. The Madridistas of the GAA, if you will. But the biggest cheers the last day didn’t come after dummy solos or spectacular scores; they came whenever a Tyrone player was landed back on his arse or out over the sideline in front of the stand.

Teams from the north are perceived to be physically tougher than Kerry and the success of Tyrone in particular is often attributed in large parts to their ability to “win the battle”.

This notion hurt Kerry folk throughout the 2000s and I think it still hurts to this day, so whenever Kerry embrace the physical side of the game and eek out a gritty result, especially against a rival, supporters really warm to it. You could see and hear that the last day up in the Park. Fair enough, we’d rather kick 3-15 and play them off the pitch, but even Kerry fans enjoy a bit of flaking every now and then.

Dara Moynihan
To be completely honest about it, I didn’t think the original starting 15 named by Peter Keane on Friday was particularly inspiring. And I mean no disrespect to the players who were selected, it’s just that we’ve seen them all before. It always makes it a bit more exciting for the fans when there are new guys on show so Dara Moynihan’s inclusion at the last minute definitely sparked some interest.

Followers of Kerry football have been excited about the diminutive Spa forward since he shone for the triumphant St Brendan’s College and Kerry minor teams in 2016 but until a fella actually goes out and does it for the Kerry seniors, there will always be question marks. 35 minutes into his senior intercounty career, many of those questions had already been answered.

Moynihan was excellent in that opening period. He kicked two points, one off the left and one off the right, as Kerry built up a commanding, and deserved, 5-1 lead. It’s a pity he didn’t land one of his efforts in the second half but nevertheless it was a very solid introduction to the big leagues.

What makes Dara special is the fact that he plays with no fear whatsoever. Though short in stature, the well-built wing forward is extremely brave and he plays in such a manner that you wouldn’t even notice the height disadvantage. To borrow an expression from American sports, he plays bigger than he is.

He’s cheeky out as well and he certainly doesn’t strike you as someone who stands on ceremony. It doesn’t bother him who’s marking him or what the stage is. His game never changes.

In terms of his style of play, he’s incredibly fast and direct but he’s also clever enough and unselfish enough to keep it simple when required. It’s obviously very early days for the 20-year-old and one good game doesn’t make a Kerry player, but on Sunday’s showing it seems as though he has all the tools to make the grade.

A new full back?
Moynihan’s East Kerry teammate Jack Sherwood was drafted in to play full back, ostensibly as a stop-gap measure, but in all honesty he was probably more assured at the position on Sunday than any Kerry defender has been in years. He will presumably get the nod again this weekend and after some time in the wilderness, the Firies all-rounder now has a massive opportunity to nail down a starting place in Peter Keane’s new-look Kerry team.

Goalkeeper Shane Ryan also acquitted himself quite well on Sunday, although to be fair he wasn’t really tested by a surprisingly toothless Tyrone attack. It will be interesting to see how Keane divides up the league campaign between the Rathmore man and Legion’s Brian Kelly as you would imagine that both will get a chance to stake their claim before Kerry play their first championship game on June 1. With Shane Murphy to come back into contention once Dr Crokes are finished in the Club Championship, it’s extremely hard to predict who Keane’s long-term number 1 will be.

With all the talk of injuries and Sigerson and possibly even relegation down the line, there wasn’t much optimism floating about as supporters trudged up the sandpit and Lewis Road for Kerry’s league opener on Sunday but they certainly came back into town with more of a spring in their step. The home team ground out a solid win in Peter Keane’s first game as senior manager and that’s a very good habit to get into.

Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

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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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