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Fixtures Crisis Update: Minor changes confirmed for 2019 O’Donoghue Cup

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Any hopes that local players had of seeing a new kind of O’Donoghue Cup in 2019 were dashed last week when board members and delegates at the East Kerry Annual Convention confirmed only a few minor changes to the current league and championship structure.

In fairness to the Board, they didn’t receive much direction from the clubs; only three clubs submitted motions (Fossa, Gneeveguilla and Rathmore) and just four of the 13 motions pertained to the O’Donoghue Cup. And I have to admit that despite the undoubted upswell in player support for change, I’m not surprised the clubs didn’t pipe up and ask for something different.

As I said multiple times before Christmas, and as I was told multiple times by club officials, nothing will happen unless players come together, decide what they want, and put it down in writing. That didn’t happen, so the clubs didn’t know what the players wanted, so they couldn’t tell the Board, so the Board were under no obligation to change anything.

Complaining down the pub is one thing, and as players we’re all well capable of that, but affecting real change takes action.

One thing I noticed in my conversations with local players before Christmas is that while everyone felt the same way about the Super League and playing the O’Donoghue Cup into December, when it came down to actually doing something, i.e. putting something in writing, they were reluctant to place their own clubs in the firing line.

The feeling was, “yeah, we want it to be sorted out, but we want to focus on football at the moment” or “we had a bad year so we don’t want to be complaining” or “it didn’t affect us this year”.

Unfortunately teams seem to be adopting a very short-sighted approach to a long-term problem. But look, fellas want to protect their own house too, which I understand.

Changes
As it turned out, a couple of positive (if minor) steps were actually taken by the Board to try and get their competitions played off in a timelier fashion.

One of the measures passed at the convention will see, “where possible”, the Preliminary Round (one fixture) and Round 1 games played in July and August, “if dates are available”. This motion, which was tabled by the East Kerry CCC, also included a line about playing midweek games but that idea did not end up getting the green light.

Introducing midweek fixtures was one of the key recommendations from the players I spoke to so its exclusion at the last minute is disappointing to say the least.

It was also decided that the four senior clubs (Rathmore, Kilcummin, Legion and Dr Crokes) will now automatically receive byes into the quarter-finals of the O’Donoghue Cup.

(Rathmore had tabled a similar motion stating that senior clubs should be seeded. Fossa had suggested an alternative system for seeding the top three teams that would have given priority to clubs who qualify for Munster first and foremost, then to the reigning O’Donoghue Cup champions, and then to the runners-up from the previous year if necessary. If those criteria still only produced two teams, a random team who had a player on the Kerry senior team would also have been seeded.)

Potential problems
If the first round games do actually get played in July and August, any teams with Kerry players will have to make do without. They won’t be too happy about playing championship without their best player(s), though looking at the current Kerry camp it may only affect three East Kerry clubs in 2019.

Between the timing of the first two rounds and the seeding of the top teams, the Board are obviously handing an advantage to the senior clubs, which isn’t ideal. But look at it this way: there has been a level playing field for the past 15 years yet only two teams have actually gone and won it.

When you group 13 teams based purely on their geographical location, there’s no reason to assume the competition will be balanced and it’s not necessarily the job of the Board to even things up either.

At the moment you realistically have seven junior clubs who have very little chance of reaching the final regardless of where they’re inserted into the competition. At the other end of the scale you have the four senior clubs who have all reached finals in recent times and all could realistically win it.

These new measures are likely to impact the two intermediate clubs, Spa and Glenflesk, more than most. Both have good, young teams and both could quite easily beat one of the senior clubs on their day, but they now have to start at least one round earlier than Crokes, Legion, Kilcummin and Rathmore. This could be a significant hindrance depending on the draw. And there’s nothing to say that Spa and Glenflesk won’t have players in with Kerry either this year or in the years to come.

The Crokes Rule
Dr Crokes and Firies effectively pulled out of the O’Donoghue Cup in 2017 when they were given fixtures the weekend before their respective Munster and county finals. Losing the tournament’s most successful team was a major blow to the East Kerry Board so in 2018 they implemented a new law that guaranteed teams a free weekend the week before a club final. That didn’t last long.

That particular recommendation was deleted at last week’s convention as it was contrary to a pre-existing County Board ruling, so if Crokes, or any other team for that matter, reach a Munster final in 2019, they could have an O’Donoghue Cup fixture the week before. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Will the changes work?
It’s not what the players wanted but I think there was at least some effort made to streamline the O’Donoghue Cup this year, and the Board deserve credit for that. On paper the changes have the potential to make a difference but I must admit, I have some doubts.

For instance, if Spa are playing Fossa in August and East Kerry are playing championship the following week, will the O’Donoghue Cup game go ahead the week before? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

Note: The East Kerry Board were not available for comment. They have not replied to any requests for comments since our first O’Donoghue Cup article in November 2018.

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Are you getting enough sleep?

By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed. Incorporating a […]

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By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness

We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed.

Incorporating a routine helps to bring direction and structure, and as Craig Ballantyne so wonderfully put it in his book ‘The Perfect Day’; “Structure = Freedom”.

In our childhood, we became accustomed to a bedtime routine. In fact, those of us who are parents go to great lengths to create this routine for our own children, knowing the benefits it brings. However, as we moved into adulthood, that same routine was thrown out the window by the demanding world of school and full-time work.

Sleep and health are locked together. When we improve our sleep, we have better energy, mood, and recover easier from exercise. When we sleep better it helps us to make better nutrition choices because sleep regulates our hormones. Yet it’s one of the first things we sacrifice in order to get through our full to-do list. Whatever these or our end goal is, jeopardising our health seems to be counterproductive and also just a little crazy! Why is it that as adults we stray so far away from one of the very foundational rituals that can keep us feeling grounded?

So how much sleep do you need? About six to eight hours is good but the exact number depends on the person. No matter who you are, you’ll feel worn out if you don’t get enough.

Here are some suggestions to help you achieve greater balance and a sound night’s sleep:

Limit caffeine:

It takes a long time for caffeine to get out of your system, so avoid it late in the day. Typically, have your last caffeinated drink 10 hours before your bedtime.

Be active:

Physical activity reduces stress and improves sleep. One exception is not to do a hard workout right before bed as it might be tough to wind down for a while afterwards.

Unwind early:

Turn off screens well before bedtime. Bright screens can mess with your body’s sleep mechanisms, so turn off TV’s, tablets and smartphones earlier in the evening. Take the dog out, brush your teeth, get into your pyjamas, and get into bed before the time you want to be asleep.

Brain dump for the next day:

Spend 5-10 minutes each night writing a list of to-do items to ensure you hit the pillow feeling organised and in control.

Set out your clothes the evening before:

This small task can save you a lot of last-minute rushing. Take the extra five minutes now when you have it.

Cool, dark and quiet:

When it comes to sleep, you want it cool, dark and quiet. Adjust the temperature or get a fan going, hang some blackout curtains and try to reduce any noise near your bedroom.

Buy an alarm clock:

This will help you to avoid being distracted by notifications should you wake and check the time in the middle of the night. Set an alarm right now for tonight. When it goes off, start your evening routine so you get into bed on time for a good night’s sleep!

Here at Activate, we promote and encourage balance to ensure we are living a happy and healthy life. Sleep is one very essential and key component of this. We hope these tips help you get some much-needed rest! When you combine great sleep with sound nutrition and solid training, you’ll feel amazing and make more progress toward your goals.

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Kerry Stars “pursuing dream to build own sports centre”

By Sean Moriarty Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser. The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds. However, the project remains […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser.

The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds.

However, the project remains on the long finger as the club has been concentrating on the safety of its members throughout the pandemic.

The delay prompted Cllr Donal Grady to ask Kerry County Council if it had any plans to build houses on the site.

Mr Grady asked the question in the context of making sure the land did not go to waste and not in opposition to any plans by Kerry Stars.

“The site referred to was originally identified as a potential site for development as a specific sports facility. That project has not materialised,” a Council official said.

“Kerry Stars had been in contact with Kerry County Council regarding use of the site, and it was expected that further communication would be received from them in the very short-term. As yet, Kerry County Council is awaiting further communication and will liaise directly with the Kerry Stars group before we can give consideration to use of the lands under the ‘Housing for All’ housing plan.”

However, Kerry Stars chairman John Spillane said they still “have every intention of pursuing our dream of have our own sports centre”.

“The location makes perfect sense, it is the sports hub of Killarney and all the clubs there could help and learn from each other.”

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