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Historic 40th year of Killarney Athletic Seven-A-Side tournament

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As the 2016 seven-a-side kicks off, it is remarkable to think that this is the 40th consecutive year that Killarney Athletic has run the tournament, says MIKE O'SULLIVAN

HAVING been part of the organising committee in the first seven-a-side in 1977 it is fantastic to see the competition reaching this milestone year.

Through the founding of the club in 1965 and the formation of the Kerry District League in 1972, Killarney Athletic had run seven-a-side competitions in the Half Moon field and also in the Áras Phádraig pitch prior to 1977. But the 1977 tournament was planned and organised to ensure that soccer would reach a higher level of promotion in Killarney and in the surrounding areas.

The tournament was also the starting point for many players before playing or entering clubs in the Kerry District League. The competition also provided many people with the opportunity to manage a soccer team for the first time and all of the local clubs today are fortunate to have such committed club officials and volunteers who gained an interest in organising teams through involvement in the seven-a-side at underage or senior level.

Teams with players from Ballyhar, Mastergeeha and Kenmare were all keen competitors in the seven-a-side and of course the majority of players who played with the Killarney Albion team that were runners-up in the 1977 final joined Killarney Rangers to form Killarney Celtic in the ’77/’78 Kerry District League season.

The dawn of the first underage seven-a-side tournament in 1978 became a nursery for young players in Killarney and surrounding areas, while the first ladies seven-a-side in 1990 proved to be a major success.

An over-35s competition followed in 1993, becoming very popular by allowing the “ageing stars” to continue to show off their skills and prove that seven-a-side football can be enjoyed even when the joints and limbs have slowed down.

There is no doubt that there were many contributing factors as to why the seven-a-side became such a popular local sporting event over the years with participation and a sense of community to the fore. The hosting of the tournament in the Áras Phádraig pitch from 1977 to 1998 with the support of the Franciscan community was key to the tournament’s popularity, growth and success.

The venue in the heart of town ensured a “buzz” in the area throughout the summer months with friends and work colleagues forming annually into teams with all sorts of colourful names.

The format of the tournament starts out with teams in groups ensuring a minimum number of games for each team. The more serious competition begins with the knock-out stages with teams thereafter competing for the Premier and Reserve Cups. The “no off-side” rule also makes seven-a-side soccer more enjoyable for players and spectators and makes the referee’s life a little easier.

Early years of the seven-a-side
The first seven-a-side in ’77 had 20 teams entered with each team restricted to only two registered club players from the Kerry District League. This rule forced teams to gather players who were not playing soccer in the Kerry League at the time while also encouraging work colleague and friends to form teams. This rule changed after a few years with the increase of players registering and playing in the KDL thereafter.

Firms such as Tuf Shoes, Scotts Tools and Liebherr all entered teams into the ‘77 tournament with many other notable firms competing in the following years and to the present day.

Sponsored teams from the Laurels, Tatler, Sweeney’s, Corkery's, Belvedere and Old Kentucky were all to the fore of competition in the early years and some still endure to the present day. Ryan’s and The Castle Heights Hotel also entered teams in the ‘77 event while a competitive team from Scartaglin were the first ‘out of town’ team to challenge for the Killarney Autos sponsored cup. The event also had the added attraction of prize money for the winners and runners-up and this was first sponsored by Con O’Leary of the Laurels Bar. As well as promoting the game locally the club also donated a contribution of funds raised to a number of local charities with St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort being a beneficiary of the early tournaments.

Support of the local media
The coverage and support of the local media also contributed hugely to the growth of the tournament over the years as the event got massive exposure as an annual local sporting community event. This media exposure also encouraged the local business community to support the event through sponsorship.

The support and sponsorship of the tournament was also a major contributing factor that allowed the club to purchase and develop its own pitch facility in Woodlawn in 1993.

End of an era in the Áras Phádraig pitch
The 1998 seven-a-side was to prove to be the last staging of the competition in the “Áras pitch” as the Lewis Road ground was purchased in 1999 by the Urban District Council so as to provide another bus and car park for Killarney.

This indeed marked the end of an era for the tournament but the years of seven-a-sides in the Aras at underage and senior level with the sporting and social outlet it provided will always remain in the minds of those who enjoyed the pleasure it brought.

The moving of the seven-a-side to the club’s ground in Woodlawn in 1999 represented a major change for the tournament but to the credit of all who organised, promoted and supported the event over the years it continued to prosper in the new venue. This year’s tournament also marks the 18th year of the seven-a-side in Woodlawn.

Little did those of us who were in the organising committee of the first seven-a-side back in 1977 think that we would see the tournament run annually for the following 40 years but the credit for its longevity is ingrained in the spirit it captured through the support of the whole community and something that we all can be proud of.


Pictured above, back left, Mike O’Connor, James Gleeson (RIP), Billy Doyle, Mike “Smiler” Moloney, Denny Hayes, Donagh Gleeson, Pat “Pogs” Looney; front left, Barry O’Connor, Toni Fleming, John Joe Grady, Sean Kelliher.

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The Michael Commins Country Shows are Killarney bound

The legendary Michael Commins Concert Shows are heading for the Gleneagle INEC on Monday and Tuesday night, August 29 and 30. For over a decade these shows have captivated audiences […]

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The legendary Michael Commins Concert Shows are heading for the Gleneagle INEC on Monday and Tuesday night, August 29 and 30.

For over a decade these shows have captivated audiences in Galway and Mayo and this marks the first time they have travelled outside the western province.

Well known promoter, Tom Kelly from Ballina, who was manager of Brendan Grace for 27 years, and who also promotes the concerts of Johnny McEvoy, Mike Denver, Isla Grant, Dan McCabe and others, noticed the market for these country shows in recent years.

“The response of audiences to the Michael Commins Shows in the Salthill and Clayton Hotels in Galway and also in Claremorris and Westport has been phenomenal and I realised right away that these shows would have huge appeal outside the province,” Tom Kelly said.

“Where better a place to start outside of Connacht than in the famous Gleneagle INEC, the heart of Irish tourism and a huge venue for Country Music down through the years. We are being inundated with requests for tickets for both shows with people travelling to Kerry from all 32 counties on the island of Ireland, with some making the journey from England and Scotland and America as well.”

Michael is a journalist, radio and TV presenter from Mayo who for four decades has been promoting traditional Country Music across the western province and around the country through his newspaper columns.

His songs have been recorded by numerous artists including his great and cherished friend, the late Big Tom, along with a host of Irish singers as well as Leona Williams (ex-wife of Merle Haggard) and John Rex Reeves, nephew of the legendary Jim Reeves.

His concert shows have been described by Waterford singer, Paddy O’Brien, as the “most unique, authentic, down-to-earth and homely” country shows on the island of Ireland. The Killarney nights look set to deliver in style on Paddy’s summation of these amazing shows.

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The show on Monday August 29, features Brendan Shine, Gerry Guthrie, Art Supple, Tony Kerr, Louise Morrissey, Lisa Stanley, PJ Murrihy, Matt Keane, Olivia Douglas, Aisling Rafferty, Ross Molloy, Paudie McAuliffe, Gavin Gribben, Noreen Ashe, and the Ryan Turner Band.

The Tuesday night sees another brilliant line-up featuring John Glenn, Declan Nerney, Sandy Kelly, Paddy O’Brien, Eddie Lee, Annmarie O’Riordan, Thomas McBride, Pat McKenna, Muriel O’Connor and Fran Curry, Mick Mulhern, Elle Marie O’Dwyer, Aoife Leonard, Matthew O’Donnell, Kevin Prendergast, Richard Mulligan, the Ryan Turner Band and Billy Condon.

Tickets are selling fast and are now available from the Gleneagle INEC box office (064 6671555), ticketmaster.ie, and from Patsy on 086 1551841.

And the Killarney Advertiser has two pairs of tickets for the Michael Commins Country Shows up for grabs.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets just answer the following question in the comments section by heading over to our Facebook page:

Name one of the female artists on the Michael Commins Concert Shows?

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Beaufort GAA launch car raffle fundraiser

By Sean Moriarty Beaufort GAA is raffling a brand new Ford Focus to raise funds for a new winter training pitch. The club took delivery of the new car this […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Beaufort GAA is raffling a brand new Ford Focus to raise funds for a new winter training pitch.

The club took delivery of the new car this week and the first tickets for the raffle were sold at Puck Fair.

Tickets are available from any member of Beaufort GAA at a cost of €25 each or three for €60.

The growing club needs new winter training facilities for its men’s, ladies and juvenile teams.

“We found that our current pitch was getting badly cut up in the winter and autumn and felt this new all-weather was the way to go,” club chairman, Neil Doherty, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We started selling this week at Puck and so far the response has been very good.”

Ticket will remain on sale until next year with a draw date set for around Easter time.

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