Connect with us


‘In April I was thinking, will I pack it in?’ – The remarkable redemption story of East Kerry’s unlikely No. 1




In April, veteran goalkeeper James Devane was dropped for Spa’s crucial Intermediate Club Championship opener against Templenoe. Hurt by the decision, the 35-year-old teacher gave serious consideration to quitting football entirely.

Little did he know that just a few short months later he’d be in Austin Stack Park on county final day, standing between the sticks for the best team in Kerry.

Devane was a mainstay in an otherwise youthful East Kerry outfit who defeated Austin Stacks, Kerins O’Rahilly’s, Dingle and St Brendan’s en route to the final of the County Championship and on Sunday he played his part in a spectacular win over the holders, Dr Crokes. It was East Kerry’s first county final triumph since 1999.

The result capped an incredible turnaround for Devane, who went from surplus to requirements at his club to first choice for a supremely talented divisional selection in a matter of months. Could he have seen it coming?

“Nah,” he says, emphatically. “In April and May, I was thinking, ‘Will I pack it in?’ But I suppose I’d be stubborn enough that way. I wanted to get my place back.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser this week, Devane admitted that getting dropped for the Templenoe game “left a bit of sour taste”.

“I had a decision to make then. I had to either try and get my place back or I could have walked away. I suppose I stuck it out, and Sunday was a nice reward for that.”

Devane was subsequently reinstated as Spa's No. 1 and his performances attracted the attention of East Kerry manager Jerry O’Sullivan, who included the experienced goalkeeper in his squad ahead of the first round of the championship in September.

What makes Devane’s redemption story all the more remarkable is the fact that despite being eligible to play for East Kerry for the majority of his career, 2019 marked his very first season as first choice keeper. The Spa native had previously served as back-up to Fossa’s Colin Myers in 2017 and Kilcummin’s Brendan Kealy in 2018.

And, as Devane himself is quick to point out, he may well have been wearing the No. 16 jersey again this year were it not for an untimely injury for last year’s Kerry minor keeper Marc Kelliher, who hails from Glenflesk.

“Marc, who is a very good goalkeeper, was injured there for a while at the start so I got to play the challenge matches. He was just a bit late coming back. It worked out well for me.

“It’s my first year starting with East Kerry - I played no football with East Kerry ever - so this is serious bonus territory."

"Personally, it’s a bit surreal. It hasn’t sunk in properly yet but it’s a nice medal to have. There’s nothing stopping the younger fellas from winning three or four but for someone of my age, you’d probably take the one and be happy about it.”

East Kerry were slight underdogs heading into last weekend’s decider but they blitzed the four-in-a-row-chasing Crokes, eventually running out 2-14 to 1-7 winners. Reflecting on the match itself, Devane heaped praise on fellow Spa man Liam Kearney, a former All-Ireland-winning minor captain who has been dogged by injuries in recent years.

“Liam had a great game in midfield and that gave us a big platform to work off. We had them pinned back for a long time. Even though we were only up three points at half-time, I didn’t think we were under serious pressure. I thought they were going to put more pressure on our kickout, like they did against South Kerry, but on Sunday we were able to get the ball out.

“It’s a very young team but they’ve all won with the Kerry minors and with the Sem, so they’re just used to it. That’s the one major difference I see with a lot of the younger fellas coming through: instead of hoping to win, they just go out and expect to win. They’re all able to handle themselves as well. There’s no fear of them. And any time you have David Clifford on your team, you have a good chance.”

Clifford and co. will be back next year, as will the Crokes (Devane, half-joking, says that “they’ll never go away”), but what about Devane himself? Will he be back in the red and white (or white and red in his case) of East Kerry in 12 months’ time?

“Hopefully. I’m not retiring anyway, we’ll put it that way.”



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


Continue Reading


Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

Continue Reading

Last News