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‘It’s now or never’ – Killarney Celtic boss with rallying cry ahead of crunch FAI tie

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FAI Junior Cup: Quarter-Final
Killarney Celtic v Fairview Rangers
Saturday at 5pm
Celtic Park

 

Ahead of Saturday’s huge quarter-final clash with Fairview of Limerick, Celtic manager Brian Spillane has called on his senior players to seize what could well be their final opportunity to win the coveted FAI Junior Cup.

The Celts have been knocking on the door for a number of years now but they have been unable to secure the holy grail, coming closest in 2017 when they reached the semi-final before being cruelly knocked out by Sheriff YC on penalties.

With a number of key players possibly heading towards retirement, Spillane believes that it’s do or die for his talented bunch of footballers.

“I reckon the likes of Smiley (John McDonagh), Gary Keane and Stevie Mahony will probably finish after this year so for those players, and even for players who might have a few years to go, it’s now or never for them if they want to win a national title or to win something outside of Kerry,” Spillane told the Killarney Advertiser. “I think they realise that too.

“With all that’s going on with COVID, fellas realise the importance of the game and they’re just happy to have a crack at it. They’re at home in the quarters, they’ve been training well and there’s no pressure on them really because a lot of people fancy Fairview. If they do manage to win then they’re at home in the semi-finals (versus Athenry or Rush) so they have two home games to get to an All-Ireland final.

“You couldn’t ask for much more than that.”

The season should, of course, be finished with by now but the completion of Ireland’s showpiece junior soccer competition was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Celtic’s manager is glad to be back in the swing of things and he says he is hopeful that the time off has served his squad well.

“We stuck to the guidelines but once we got any kind of green light at all we went at it,” he said. “We went up in groups of four, and then team training when we were allowed. We have 12 sessions and two games under our belt so we’re as ready now as we’ll ever be. The squad is fully fit. Wayne Sparling was struggling for a few weeks but he’s back now. Everyone’s in good shape and the competition for places is great.

“I think the break actually did us good because we had played a lot of games. Hopefully the time off will favour us; the lads seem fresh and ready to go.”

FAIRVIEW

Last weekend, Celtic defeated Killorglin 5-2 in the Greyhound Bar KO Cup with a slightly weakened side as Wayne Sparling, Adam O’Rourke, Stephen McCarthy and Lee Downing were all rested. All four are expected to return to the starting lineup for the match against Fairview, a strong side who are likely to provide the hosts with their toughest test of the season to date.

“Fairview will be a huge challenge,” Spillane admitted. “I think they’re probably the best team left in the competition. They have five fellas coming back from League of Ireland so their squad is very strong. I went up to watch them twice before the lockdown and they looked very solid. They play very direct, like a League of Ireland team, and they have a lot of quality. They don’t score a lot but they don’t concede anything either.

“With these cup games, it’s the team that makes the least amount of mistakes that will win. A lot of these games are decided on set pieces. Fairview have a similar shape to ourselves so it’ll be about winning our own battles.”

Another challenge that the club are facing is the tricky business of allocating tickets for the big match. Only 200 people (including players, management and match officials) will be allowed to enter the grounds on Saturday evening, which means a lot of local supporters will be left out in the cold.

“It’s very tough to be honest,” Spillane said. “You have players, management, media, referees and referees assessors, so then we’re left with 100 or 110 tickets. We decided to give Fairview 25% of that, and they’re allocating their percentage between committee and sub-committee members. That means they won’t have any supporters at the game.

“We’ll have 75-85 supporters and we said we’d give the tickets to the people who went to our away matches up in Buncranna and Crettyard. Even when we get knocked out of these competitions, these are the people who’ll be at the next league game.”

The game will also be streamed live on the club’s Facebook page for those who are unable to attend.

HUGE

There’s no denying that the national and provincial tournaments have been at the top of Celtic’s agenda in recent times and the Celtic boss believes that the significance of reaching another FAI Junior Cup semi-final cannot be understated.

“It’d be huge for the club. I think players need to be tested and I don’t think they’re tested in the Kerry District League. The minute I went into management I wanted to make a beeline for the Munster Junior Cup and the FAI Junior Cup. In Kerry, you’re asking fellas to train two or three times a week and you’ve no fixture list. There’s no structure. It’s very hard to turn around and tell players that they might have no game for three weeks… It’s hard to motivate them.

“With the FAI and the Munster competitions, the dates are fixed so it’s easier to make plans and have that structure. They know when they’re playing and that’s what the players are calling out for.”

And in fairness to them, Celtic’s players have thrived at this level. All that’s left for them now is to make that extra step, starting with Fairview tomorrow evening. Spillane thinks that his lads are good to go.

“We have a fully fit squad, we’re ready and we’ve had a good bit of experience through the last few years. We’re looking forward to it big time.”

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The secret is in the book!

By Michelle Crean  The secret to finding your true happiness is all in a new book which will guide readers to unlock their potential. Brazilian native Michelle Hadad, who moved to Ireland 14 years ago has written ‘The Secret Box: Concave and Convex’, a 432 page book which addresses the issues of suicide and develops into […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

The secret to finding your true happiness is all in a new book which will guide readers to unlock their potential.

Brazilian native Michelle Hadad, who moved to Ireland 14 years ago has written ‘The Secret Box: Concave and Convex’, a 432 page book which addresses the issues of suicide and develops into two different narratives.

It is also a follow up to her previous work ‘The Secret Box…Finding the Key’, a 192 page paperback launched by Michael Healy-Rae TD and reviewed by now retired judge James O’Connor, in October 2017.

Michelle, who studied adult psychology and is a NLP practitioner who encourages clients to transform limiting self-beliefs, explains that this version continues the story of Maria from the first book.

In the first book, the reader compares and contrasts their own life experiences with those of Maria and ask themselves the very question posed at the end of the book in the final chapter or ‘Padlock 13’ – “who are you?”

“Readers are outside the box, they see their own stories – that’s when we judge others,” Michelle told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It is fiction and the story is in two versions, the positive is bigger than the negative. There is always hope regardless of pain.”

She added that people need to forget about what others think, and focus on their own values and traditions.

“It’s a self help book, it doesn’t matter what people think of us, life’s too short. I’m motivating people in a positive way because of my NLP and psychology qualification.”

However, she emphasised that readers don’t have to have read the first book to understand the second one.

“Maria is the leading figure and there’s a few characters from book one but you don’t have to read that to get book two.”

She added that she’s thankful to everyone who helped her along the way.

“I have been blessed to have met so many people to help with my books.”

Both books are available from O’Connor’s Centra, The Reeks and Horans Health Store on Beech Road.

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Green light for teen accommodation

By Michelle Crean  Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead. An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment. The teens living within the premises […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead.

An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment.

The teens living within the premises will be supervised by applicant Eileen O’Brien who will live on the ground floor of the premises.

The two one-bed apartments on the second floor would either be rented out or used for independent living for the teenagers as they reach adulthood.

The two-bed apartment will be on the third floor. There are also plans for balconies at second and third floor levels.

The proposed apartment building is contemporary in design with a mix of stone and render finish on the lower floors and synthetic burned timber finish on the upper floors. The second floor is recessed at the front and the third floor is recessed at the front and the rear with a decorative feature on the front elevation comprising dark grey timber steel poles. The building will also have a flat roof.

Planning permission was granted subject to 14 conditions including a two-metre high boundary wall to be constructed on south, south-western boundaries of the site and there’s to be no overnight commercial guest accommodation.

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Fans return to Fitzgerald Stadium after eight months

By Sean Moriarty Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game. Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game.

Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the first game at the stadium since the 2020 Kerry Petroleum Intermediate Club Football Championship Quarter-Final when Glenbeigh-Glencar played Beaufort on October 4 last year.

Due to current restrictions only 200 fans were allowed attend Saturday’s big match. That will remain in place for Kerry’s opening Munster Championship tie with Clare on June 26.

“It had been more than eight months since Fitzgerald Stadium welcomed back fans to the venue,” stadium PRO Tatyana McGough told the Killarney Advertiser. “Everything went exceptionally well.”

She is hopeful that more restrictions will be eased on July 5, paving the way for an increase in capacity to 500 fans in time for the July 25 Munster Final.

“It is likely that from July 5 up to 500 spectators may be permitted to attend games. We hope this number will increase for the Munster Final. If it is a Cork versus Kerry Munster Final the game will be fixed for Sunday July 25 at 4pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The stadium’s staff are very confident in being able to host any number of fans that may be allowed.”

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