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If Kerry play like they did against Dublin, let Tralee have the league

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People joke about Kerry fans being slow to travel to games unless there’s a trophy presentation at the end, but it’s actually far worse than that here in Killarney.

Forget about making the long trek to such far-flung, godforsaken locations as Ennis or Thurles, many supporters in this part of the world are slow to even venture as far as their own county town to see the green and gold in action.

Last Saturday’s exhilarating encounter against Dublin might just change all of that.

Considering how things panned out against the Dubs, it’s hard – if not impossible – to argue against hosting more big matches at Austin Stack Park in the future. If the Dubs can be thrown by the Tralee factor, anyone can.

Spectators were treated to an enthralling game at the famous old Tralee ground as Peter Keane’s new-look Kingdom put in a rousing performance to defeat the reigning All-Ireland champions by a single point.

There’s something extra special about night games (a cynic might say that it’s down to some of the spectators being two or three pints deep) and with a large and loud Dublin following in attendance, the atmosphere was electric.

Predictably, one or two dissenting (Killarney) voices complained over the weekend that a match of this magnitude should have been played in the Fitzgerald Stadium, which has a larger capacity of approximately 40,000.

Ostensibly the argument is that Stack Park is too small – there were around 12,000 people at last weekend’s fixture – but it’s not as though you would have filled the Fitzgerald Stadium anyway at this time of the year. I have no doubt that the quest for TV ratings was also a factor in scheduling Kerry v Dublin for a Saturday, and if the game is scheduled for a dark February evening then it has to be played under the lights in Tralee.

In truth, it’s that old Springfield/Shelbyville dynamic at play once again. Many Killarney folk firmly believe that every Kerry event under the sun (and moon) should be held in Killarney because “sure what would be carrying anyone back to Tralee”. I swear if some people in this town had their way, The Rose of Tralee would be held in the INEC.

Are the championship games and half the home league games and the countless other non-sporting events that draw millions of tourists to Killarney 12 months of the year not enough for us? Surely we can afford to give Tralee, one of the most famous footballing towns in the country, a couple of big league games in the spring.

It’s a major boost for the community and as far as I’m concerned, if Kerry perform the way they did the last day, they can play all of their games (apart from the Munster final and the Super 8s home tie) behind there.

Intensity
Kerry were fantastic last Saturday evening as they secured a well-deserved one-point win over the reigning All-Ireland champions. The intensity and passion on show was nothing short of inspirational and just three games into Keane’s reign, supporters already seem to have a special affinity with this team.

I don’t want to get too carried away when talking about such a young player, especially not in February, but Dara Moynihan has been the epitome of everything good about Peter Keane’s Kerry so far. The Spa native plays the game at 100 miles per hour and when you pair that with his unquestionable footballing talent, it’s easy to see why he’s already turning heads. He was the official Man of the Match against the Dubs and deservedly so.

On the other wing, Gavin O’Brien had a superb game in his first start and Seán O’Shea was excellent yet again on the 40.

Kerry racked up an impressive tally of 1-18 on a miserable night in February but their backs also deserve a huge amount of credit for limiting Dublin’s frankly terrifying forward division to “just” 2-14. Dublin’s full forward line won very few uncontested balls. Peter Crowley, Brian Ó Beaglaoich and Jack Sherwood got out in front, or at least stayed side by side, and got a hand in on multiple occasions and that was something that just didn’t happen last year.

(Just a brief sidenote on our corner back from An Ghaeltacht, Brian Ó Beaglaioch, as there was some consternation online about how commentators were pronouncing his Irish name. A few people incorrectly referred to him as “Ó Beaglach” but, funnily enough, non-Gaeilgeoirs needn’t bother with the Irish version at all. As far as I know, he actually goes by “Begley”. So Brian [bree-un] Begley is fine too.)

Jack Sherwood continues to impress at full back and his raking opening point and spectacular block on Dean Rock were two of the more memorable moments from what was an eminently memorable game.

A special mention must also go to crafty centre back Paul Murphy from Rathmore, who was immense from start to finish. He must be a pain in the arse to mark and he never seems to make a bad decision, on or off the ball. Captain material, and not just on a temporary basis.

Peter Keane likes to pull 13-14 men back on defence but Peter Crowley, who had number 2 on his back, was the match-winner so players clearly do have some freedom when Kerry have possession. They certainly attacked at great pace the last day and with Dublin doing likewise as they chased the game, it made for great viewing. We probably thought we’d never see the day but maybe Kerry supporters are finally warming to the blanket.

There’s a real buzz about this team at the moment and there will surely be a great clamour for tickets when Kerry play Mayo in Tralee on March 16. In between, The Kingdom play Galway in Tuam on February 24 and they’re back in Killarney on March 3 when they host Monaghan in the Fitzgerald Stadium.

Pic: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile.

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More than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country without power

Gale force winds associated with Storm Barra, with gusts of over 130 km/h, are continuing to cause damage to the electricity network, currently affecting more than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country. The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. ESB Networks’ crews will […]

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Gale force winds associated with Storm Barra, with gusts of over 130 km/h, are continuing to cause damage to the electricity network, currently affecting more than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country.

The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. ESB Networks’ crews will continue to work late into the evening to restore power to those affected, where safe to do so, but unfortunately, some customers will remain without electricity overnight.

Since early morning and despite challenging conditions, ESB Networks have continued to restore power to customers across the country.
With the storm still crossing the country, more damage and interruptions to supply can be expected. ESB Networks reminds the public that if you come across fallen wires or damaged electricity network, never, ever touch or approach these as they may be LIVE and extremely dangerous.

All internal resources and contractors remain on alert and are responding to electricity outages once it is safe to do so. With a Red weather warning in the Southwest in effect until 9 pm tonight, and Co Clare until 1 am on Wednesday morning, some of our crews may not be mobilised on the ground until the worst of the severe weather passes.

We are advising all those impacted by outages that they should prepare to be without electricity overnight and into tomorrow, with some customers potentially without power beyond that. It is very important that any customers who use electrically powered medical devices should contact their healthcare professional to make alternative arrangements if necessary.

In addition to safety procedures associated with power restoration, crews continue to work under all national Covid-19 protocols with respect to hygiene, social distancing and PPE.

Customers without power can check for updates on when their fault is expected to be repaired at www.powercheck.ie

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“Avoid the Ballycasheen area of Killarney” Kerry County Council

County Kerry is now bearing the full brunt of Storm Barra and the Kerry Severe Weather Coordination Team reminds everyone that a Status RED weather warning, the highest such warning, remains in place for Kerry until 9pm. Kerry County Council is advising people to avoid the Ballycasheen area of Killarney Due to the significant risk […]

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County Kerry is now bearing the full brunt of Storm Barra and the Kerry Severe Weather Coordination Team reminds everyone that a Status RED weather warning, the highest such warning, remains in place for Kerry until 9pm.

Kerry County Council is advising people to avoid the Ballycasheen area of Killarney

Due to the significant risk to life and property, members of the public should remain indoors and not travel for the rest of the evening. Everyone is advised to follow updates on weather warnings from Met Éireann as well as the local media and social media.

There are an increasing number of roads closed or blocked because of fallen trees, electricity poles and spot flooding. Council crews will respond to issues when it is safe to do so and with the assistance of other agencies where required.

The N71 road at the Suspension Bridge in Kenmare remains closed to traffic as does the N70 Tralee to Castlemaine Road at the hairpin bends. There are a significant number of local and regional and local roads blocked or partially blocked by fallen trees, electricity poles and debris in all parts of the county so travel should be avoided.

The Ballycasheen Road in Killarney and Main Street in Ballybunion (and the surrounding area) should be avoided due to concerns about potential falling debris.

The Council’s emergency contact number is 066 7183588 and it will be operational through this evening and tonight.

Fallen electricity wires/poles and power outages should be reported to ESB Networks on 1800 372 999.

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