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Game on: Crokes collapse blows championship wide open 

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This time last week they were odds-on favourites to win a third consecutive county title but Dr Crokes’ 2018 championship aspirations were dealt a crushing blow on Sunday when they fell to a shock defeat to Kerins O’Rahilly’s in the Park.

It was the Crokes’ first loss in the competition since October 2015 and not many people saw this one coming, especially not at half time when the Killarney side led by 10.

Rahilly’s still trailed by eight heading into the final quarter but they showed tremendous heart to stage one of the most unlikely comebacks you’re ever likely to see. In fact, many of the crowd in attendance missed the thrilling finale because they had long since left the stadium. To be honest, I was nearly gone myself.

Guys like David Moran, Barry John Keane and Tommy Walsh really came to the fore as Strand Road outscored the reigning champions 3-7 to 0-3 in the final 15 minutes plus additional time. Mike Quirke’s men were rampant down the stretch and if they can replicate this kind of intensity moving forward, they could go a long way.

Crokes, meanwhile, will be left to wonder what went wrong. There were murmurs around town that they weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders but it was still a huge upset by anyone’s standards. I can’t recall ever seeing a Crokes team capitulating in such emphatic fashion and it’s bound to dent the players’ confidence. They wouldn’t be human if it didn’t.

Their performance in the opening round against St Kieran’s was below par (they actually trailed with five minutes to play) but that was dismissed as an anomaly. In light of last weekend’s disastrous result, there are now serious doubts about their form. And form isn’t something that can be turned on or off with the flick of a switch.

Having said that, no one in Kerry will be writing Crokes’ obituary just yet. They’re not out of the competition and you would expect them to defeat An Ghaeltacht tomorrow in Round 3 to advance to the quarters. This team have been utterly dominant in recent years and, despite what happened last Sunday, it’s still hard to envisage them not being a factor in the latter stages of this year’s championship.

East Kerry are now the bookies’ favourites to lift the Bishop Moynihan Cup following another comprehensive victory in Killarney, this time against Dingle. The East were actually down two at the interval but they eventually racked up 6-15 en route to a handy 17-point win. David Clifford, who bagged a brace, showed his class once again and in Evan Cronin, Kevin McCarthy, Dara Moynihan, Paudie Clifford and Jack Sherwood they have a forward line that can torment any defence in the county.

The Killarney Legion are also safely through to the quarters after a fine win against Mid Kerry in Killorglin. Conditions were tough and the hosts raced into an early lead thanks to two quick-fire goals, but the lads responded well and I thought we were good value for the win in the end. Damien O’Sullivan was excellent at full back and I was also really impressed with Aidan Slattery who put in a serious shift at half forward.

It has been a good start and it’s nice to take the direct route to the last eight but there’s a long way to go yet.

Austin Stacks defeated South Kerry by a point in the other winners’ round game so they will join Rahilly’s, East Kerry and Legion in the hat for the quarter-final draw, which will take place after the last Round 3 game on Sunday.

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on MyHome.ie in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 killarney@dng.ie for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]

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A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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