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Galway v Kerry Preview: Kingdom to lay some ghosts to rest?

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Listen to an interview with any Kerry player over the past few months and the infamous ‘Galway game’ is sure to crop up.

The disastrous encounter in Croke Park last July was unquestionably the low point of Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s final year in charge and the result and performance left Kerry stunned.

There was ample time to bounce back but the team never fully recovered from the shock, and neither did the manager.

It was surely the lowest point Kerry football had experienced in a number of years; the defeat ultimately meant that The Kingdom were dumped out of the championship before the semi-final stage for the first time since 2012.

Now, just seven months later, the outlook is infinitely brighter. After an encouraging start under new manager Peter Keane, there’s a degree of optimism about this team that hasn’t been felt in many years. If Kerry can make it four from four by defeating Galway (and laying some ghosts to rest in the process), they could well find themselves quite lonesome at the top of Division 1 come Sunday at around half past three.

Keane has stuck with the same back seven for his opening three games but the absence of Brian Ó Beaglaoich (suspended) will open the door for a new defender for the first time this season. Jason Foley (pictured) is back to full fitness and may be called upon to deputise, while Mark Griffin and Gavin Crowley, both of whom made an appearance in the Dublin game, are also in contention.

At midfield, David Moran will be hoping to earn his first start of the year with either Adrian Spillane or Diarmuid O’Connor likely to stand aside should the Rahilly’s veteran get the nod.

Keane will probably stick with Dara Moynihan, Seán O’Shea and Gavin O’Brien in the half forward line after all three performed admirably in their last outing, and with David Clifford and James O’Donoghue still a couple of weeks away from full fitness, Paul Geaney and Stephen O’Brien are expected to continue in the full forward line.

Kevin McCarthy is back training with Kerry following Kilcummin’s successful All-Ireland Intermediate Club campaign and the dynamic forward adds depth to an already strong-looking squad.

Kerry will naturally be without the services of Dr Crokes players Shane Murphy, Gavin White, Micheál Burns, David Shaw and Michael Potts, while Galway will also have to make do without Corofin stars Ian Burke, Liam Silke, Kieran Molloy, Dylan Wall and Bernard Power. Crokes face Corofin in the All-Ireland Senior Cub final on St Patrick’s Day.

There was some bad news for Galway manager Kevin Walsh this week as talismanic captain Damien Comer confirmed that he’ll be facing an extended period on the sidelines. The burly Annaghdown forward is due to undergo surgery on his ankle and is expected to be out of action for up to three months.

That would rule Comer out for the remainder of the league and also make him a doubt for Galway’s opening two games of the Connacht Championship, which kicks off on May 5.

Pic: Sportsfile.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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