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If Kerry want to crash the party, confidence will be key

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Let’s be real here. Dublin are 1/5 to win on Sunday. In the simplest of terms, the bookmakers believe that Jim Gavin’s team have an 83% chance of defeating Kerry.

If they turn up and are allowed to do what they always do, they will secure an unprecedented five-in-a-row. There's no two ways about it.

Dublin have devoured every opponent that has been laid out before them and never before have Kerry gone into a senior All-Ireland as such rank outsiders.

But look, 83% isn’t 100%. There is a window of opportunity here for Kerry and it would be foolish to suggest otherwise. The Munster champions have, at the very least, a puncher’s chance, although it’s also true that they’ll need a number of key factors to work in their favour on the day.

Dublin are possibly the greatest team ever when it comes to punishing weaknesses. To win, Kerry cannot show any.

 

KICKOUTS It almost goes without saying at this stage but the kickouts, especially Shane Ryan’s, will be pivotal.

As we saw in that devastating 12 minutes against Mayo, Dublin’s press can suffocate the life out of the opposition if it works as planned. Securing primary possession is huge in every game but the champions’ forwards are deadly when their supply lines are fully operational. Ryan will need to find a way out every time Dublin kill the ball. It’s a daunting task for rookie goalkeeper who plays a lot of his football outfield, but the Rathmore man has done well so far.

Going short is rarely an option against Dublin. They love trapping their opponents and ganging up to force a turnover. Will Kerry try overloading one side of the pitch, which might disrupt the Dubs’ preferred formation, or will Ryan try to go long over the press?

Either way, ball-winners like David Moran and whoever partners him in midfield will have to be ultra competitive, and the rest of Kerry’s middle eight will need to snaffle up their fair share of breaks as well.

Moran’s importance cannot be understated. If he can continue his recent run of form, Kerry should at least be in the picture.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen who will be entrusted by Peter Keane to marshal Dublin’s talismanic No. 8 Brian Fenton. Jack Barry is only just returning from injury but the Na Gaeil youngster has to be seen as a viable option if fully fit. He wasn't named in last night's official starting 15 but he has held Fenton to just one point in the last four meetings between the sides, a remarkable stat when you consider the fact that Fenton is Dublin’s third highest scorer from play in this year’s championship.

 

MAN MARKERS If Kerry break even at midfield, that will relieve some of the pressure on man markers Jason Foley and Tadhg Morley, who will undoubtedly have their hands full with Paul Mannion and Con O’Callaghan.

A lot of people are tipping Tom O'Sullivan to pick up Mannion but I'm not so sure. O'Sullivan has had a terrific year and he has kept Paul Kerrigan, James Carr, Jamie Brennan and Peter Harte scoreless, but the majority of those guys are link players who operate further out the field. Defending an inside forward like Mannion is a different ball game. The Dingle defender has the attributes to do a job in there but to me it would make more sense to leave Foley and Morley at it.

O’Callaghan is the front-runner for Footballer of the Year and Mannion isn’t far behind him so Kerry will be doing extremely well to contain the pair of them. Nullifying them completely might be unrealistic but limiting their goal chances will be massively important.

To date, Dublin are averaging over two goals a game in this year’s championship. If they manage more than that on Sunday, the chances of a Kerry victory will be slim.

 

THE FINAL QUARTER So, if Kerry can negotiate all of those challenges, and get enough ball to the likes of David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Stephen O’Brien and Seán O’Shea, and if Clifford and Geaney and O’Brien and O’Shea bring their shooting boots, they should be there or thereabouts heading into the final quarter of the All-Ireland final. And as we saw back in 2016, that’s when things get really interesting.

Kerry will need to compete for 70+ minutes and to do that, Peter Keane will almost certainly call on 21 of the 26 players at his disposal.

On Sunday, the 15 Kerry footballers on the field at the end of game will be just as important, if not more important, than the ones who start.

Everyone wants to march around the pitch behind the Artane Band on All-Ireland final day but in this particular instance, if I was one of the players who narrowly missed out on a starting berth I wouldn’t be completely heartbroken.

When it comes down to it, the guys who are called upon in the final quarter will have an incredibly significant role to play on Sunday. (Assuming, of course, that Kerry are still in the contest.)

It’s a big ask to get all of these things right and I suppose with all the talk of how good Dublin are, it’s hard to be optimistic. How do you stop the unstoppable?

I believe it was Helen Keller who once said (I say “believe”, I obviously googled it) that optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, and that nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

If there’s one thing Kerry fans are rarely lacking, it’s hope, and if there’s one thing Kerry players are rarely lacking (especially in Croke Park), it’s confidence. Let’s bring both on Sunday and see what happens.

 

Kerry team to play Dublin: Shane Ryan; Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, Tom O’Sullivan; Paul Murphy, Gavin Crowley, Brian Ó Beaglaoich; David Moran, Adrian Spillane; Gavin White, Seán O’Shea, Stephen O’Brien; David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Killian Spillane.

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How to boost your immune system with nutrition

By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability. While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, […]

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By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness

The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability.

While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, there are ways to keep your immune system strong so that you are better prepared to fight off infections and heal quickly.

As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there, but if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can’t fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill.

Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. Here are five ways to ensure you support a good immune system coming into the wintery months:

1. Eat More Vegetables

While all vegetables have health benefits, some pack a more powerful immune-boosting punch than others. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections.

2. Eat Balanced Meals

Include all macronutrients in your meals. Protein is particularly important for healing and recovery. Protein sources include leaner sources of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, beans, soy, nuts and seeds. These foods are also good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes healthy immune function and aids in wound healing. Healthy fats are also essential to support our immune health. Try to include a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. These are found in avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide good fats but are also rich in phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. For example, a small handful of nuts such as almonds is a great source of vitamin E. Wild-caught salmon is one of the only foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Fatty fish are also rich in essential fats called omega-3s, which are known for their multiple health benefits.

3. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the main aspects that support a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against a variety of diseases. And just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system, improves blood circulation allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

4. Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. The lack of sleep puts your body into ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing adrenaline and increased stress hormones into the body. Research shows that in general, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health and well-being. As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body. A few tips for getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine in the evenings, turning off your screens (TV, laptop, phones, etc.) well before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

5. Manage Your Stress

You may not often think about how stress affects your ability to fight off infection, but your state of mind can have a significant impact on your health. When you are experiencing more stress, your immunity is compromised, which puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Managing stress may help you fight germs and infections. Stress management techniques include breath work, meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walking etc. Having a support system of close friends and family can also help us feel connected and stay strong throughout stressful times.

Although there is no magical potion for immunity, you can take these five steps to boost your immune system which is very important as we enter the colder and darker mornings of winter. Don’t underestimate your lifestyle’s impact on your ability to help keep your immune system strong. Good nutrition, quality sleep, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your health. If you need help with your nutrition, send us an email at nutrition@activate.ie and we will be happy to help you!

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Ireland’s newest and toughest cycle will be a thrilling challenge

Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist. Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare […]

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Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist.

Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare will tackle some of Kerry’s toughest climbs and highest mountain passes.

Taking place on October 22, Velo Kenmare is an 135km timed loop route starting and finishing in Kenmare. The total climbing distance is 1,650m, and organisers hope to appeal to serious cyclists who are looking for a new and thrilling challenge.

No stranger to cycling events, Velo Kenmare is being managed by Elite Events Management, who also successfully deliver iconic cycling events Wicklow 200, Ride Dingle and the Ring of Beara Cycle.
Cyclists are encouraged to register for Velo Kenmare on the Velo Cycle Ireland website www.velocycleireland.ie but places are limited for the enjoyment and safety of all participants, and anyone interested is urged to sign up soon as places are filling up.

TOUGH CLIMBS

​​​​The tough enough mountain climbs are over Molls Gap, Ballaghbeama Pass, Ballaghasheen and Coomakista. The route will take in breathtaking scenery Kenmare is famous for, and incorporating some of the most stunning parts of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of Kerry. It is hoped visitors to the cycle event will be encouraged to stay for a few days, and will all be given €20 vouchers or ‘Velo Dollars’ to spend in local shops which will be redeemable against goods and services in Kenmare.

Riders will be allotted a time slot to allow for a staggered start, taking them along a fully marshalled route, with medical cover, bike mechanic support, and hot food and entertainment at the finish in Kenmare.

Making its mark, Velo Kenmare participant race packs will come inside a yellow Velo Kenmare water bottle and finishers’ medals are in the shape of a yellow cow bell. Prizes will be awarded for the quickest top three male and top three female finishers, and fastest male and female will be awarded the title of King and Queen of the Kerry Mountains.

Experienced cyclists are encouraged to take on this exciting new challenge, testing themselves and their clubmates for the fastest finish across these four gruelling climbs, through some of the most beautiful landscape in the country for the best welcome back at the finish.

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