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International cycling returns to Killarney

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By Sean Moriarty

International cycling returns to the streets of Killarney tomorrow (Saturday) for the first time since 2009.

In the intervening years several international cycle races including the Rás Tailteann have passed through town but it is 13 years since Killarney hosted a stage start or finish of a major cycle race.

The town also hosted stage starts and finishes during the Nissan International Classic era of the late 1990s.

That will change tomorrow as Killarney Cycling Club host the start of Stage Two of the Rás Mumhan.

Over 150 riders representing Ireland, Scotland and England will roll out from St Oliver’s National School in Ballycasheen at 10.30am.

The peloton and its supporting cast of team cars and officials will create a colourful convoy along Countess Road and Mission Road.

The town centre element of the race will be neutralised until the riders reach Fossa at around 11am.

From there the cyclists will race over a daunting course via Killorglin, Bealach Óisín Pass and Coomakista near Waterville before the stage finishes in Sneem later in the day.

Back in 2009, during the professional Tour of Ireland, Killarney cycling fans got to see some of the best riders in the world in action, as the second stage finished on Port Road.

2009 Race

Local cycling journalist Padraig Harnett remembers the August 2009 race. He was travelling in a press car as the race made its way off Mushermore Mountain near Millstreet.

Irish star Mark Cassidy and Belgian rival Dennis Van Winden had built up a six minute lead over the chasing pack.

“It was the greatest performance I have ever seen, the cyclists came off the mountain at 80km/h, I was in a press car and the driver had to back off – it was too fast for the car,” Padraig told the Killarney Advertiser.

The stage was eventually won by ‘Manx Missile’ Mark Cavendish who now holds the joint-record for the most stage wins in the Tour de France. The peloton also included Lance Armstrong who finished third in the Tour de France earlier in the year and before his fall from grace.

“Cassidy and Van Winden were caught coming in by Lissivigeen. It resulted in a bunch sprint to the finish, Cavendish won but there was no doubt that the thousands of people along Port Road were there to see Armstrong. Hindsight is great,” he added. “Armstrong refused an interview, it was raining and he was too cold after the stage and stayed in the team bus.”

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Last chance to enter Spa GAA’s fundraising draw

By Sean Moriarty There is just less than one week left to enter Spa GAA’s fundraising raffle. The ‘Cairde Spa’ draw takes place on Thursday night (February 2) the Spa’s […]

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By Sean Moriarty

There is just less than one week left to enter Spa GAA’s fundraising raffle.

The ‘Cairde Spa’ draw takes place on Thursday night (February 2) the Spa’s clubhouse at 7pm.

Funds raised will go towards the upgrade and development works planned over the next few years.

Guest of honour on the night is national GAA president Larry McCarthy and the Sam Maguire Cup will make an appearance too.

“Apart from ongoing and essential maintenance work, the club has a number of development projects in the pipeline. The money is being raised towards improving our grounds to provide top class facilities that can be used year-round, including car parking, perimeter fencing for pitches, ladies and juveniles dressing rooms, outdoor skills wall, player dug outs for senior and juvenile pitches, safety enhancements and lighting on the walking track, landscaping, scoreboard, viewing gallery to the sports hall, alignment of entrance to the grounds and a remembrance garden,” said Michael Cronin, Club Chairman.

“We are calling on everyone to get behind the fundraiser. Our vision is to provide top class grounds and facilities where everyone is welcome to use and participate fully in our activities, games and culture. In order to achieve this vision, we are setting out exciting new developments and investments in our facilities – and we need your support.”

There are 10 prizes up for grabs: 1st Prize: €15,000, 2nd Prize: €3,000, 3rd Prize: €2,000, 4th Prize: €1,000, 5th Prize: Two nights dinner and B&B at the Killarney Park Hotel, 6th Prize: €500 Voucher for Killarney Carpets & Furniture, 7th Prize: €300 Voucher for O’Sullivan’s Cycles, 8th Prize: €250 Voucher for Killarney Oils, 9th Prize: €150 Voucher for Killarney Hardware and 10th Prize: A signed Kerry jersey.

Tickets are €100 each and can be collected/returned at the clubhouse this Saturday (10.30am-12noon), Monday (7-8pm) or Wednesday (7-8pm), and tickets are also available online on spagaa.com.

Any queries contact Andy (087 2236754), Michael (085 8213027), Assumpta (087 6779292) or Deirdre (085 1216359) or any Club Officers.

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Marian Players excited to get back on stage

By Michelle Crean With a cast of over 50 it’s no small undertaking – but that won’t deter one panto group who are only too happy to get back on […]

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By Michelle Crean

With a cast of over 50 it’s no small undertaking – but that won’t deter one panto group who are only too happy to get back on stage this weekend.

It’s been two years since they staged a show due to COVID but the Marian Players Rathmore are rearing to go tomorrow night (Saturday) with their hilarious show ‘Dame Annie Goes West’.

A medley of comedy and colour, combined with music and dance, locals from both sides of the border have been working together to make it a great production.

“We’re very excited, we can’t wait! It’s great to be back,” Mary Hickey told the Killarney Advertiser.

“They [the cast] got together in October and they’re at it since.”

Val Moynihan is the “genius behind it”, she added, and it’s produced by her son Brian Hickey, and co-written with Eilish Coakley.

She said that they have loads working in the background also doing the stage curtains, lighting and making costumes amongst other tasks.

“It’s a pantomime without the pantomime in the background! It’s a whole community effort both sides of the border.”

Evening shows start at 7.30pm tomorrow (Saturday) and again Sunday (January 29) at 3pm.

Mid-week shows continue on Wednesday next (February 1) at 7.30pm, Thursday (February 2) at 7.30pm and also Saturday (February 4) at 7.30pm and Sunday (February 5) at 3pm.

The booking office (085 2031730) will be open every day from 2pm to 6pm to reserve seats and collect tickets and is located adjacent to the community centre, next to Christy’s Take Away.

Seats may be reserved over the phone too and paid for using a bank card. All proceeds are going to Kerry Parents & Friends Association.

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