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Keane’s first 100 days have been eventful – now the real challenge begins

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Kerry may not have kicked a ball in anger in months but I doubt Peter Keane has had much downtime since taking over from Eamonn Fitzmaurice in October.

Assembling a new team is always fraught with challenges but Keane’s job has been made doubly difficult by an exodus of some of Kerry’s most senior players at the end of last season. Considering the manner in which Kerry exited the Super 8s in 2018, expectations should be relatively low for the coming campaign but, as we all know, that’s not how it works around here. Keane, like every Kerry bainisteoir before him, will be under pressure to get results straight away, regardless of the players he has at his disposal.

So how has the Cahersiveen native fared in his first 100 days in office?

A shaky start
The former minor manager barely had his feet under his desk when the first controversy of his regime came to light. Keane compiled a list of approximately 40 players, all of whom were informed by management that they were to be part of an extended Kerry panel for pre-season training ahead of the 2019 campaign.

However, a number of players who were in with Kerry in 2018 but evidently not in Keane’s plans were not informed of their omission. This left established squad members like Barry John Keane and Fionn Fitzgerald out in the cold with no idea if they were in or out. You had a situation where senior Kerry players had to ask around to find out if a squad had even been named.

That’s an embarrassing position for anyone to find themselves in and you would have thought that their many years of service merited a kinder farewell than that.

The issue was raised at the time by Kerins O’Rahilly’s at a County Board meeting and Kerry GAA Chairman Tim Murphy said things would be done differently in the future. But at a recent press conference the Kerry manager doubled down on his decision to not contact outgoing squad members, insisting that, “they hadn’t been my players”.

That doesn’t really cut it as far as I’m concerned. How long would it have taken to look at last year’s panel, put an ‘x’ next to the relevant names and make a couple of calls? Or at least send a text? Fitzgerald and BJ Keane were popular characters in the dressing room and I doubt the incident went down too well with their teammates, not to mention their clubmates who did end up making the 40 (eight at last count – five Crokes and three Rahilly’s).

The Famous 40
Rumours of a radical overhaul were rife in the opening weeks of Keane’s reign. As many as 20 of Fitzmaurice’s 40 had been cut instantly, if reports were to be believed. Every Kerryman who kicked a size 5 O’Neill’s in 2018 was “in there” at some point in that first fortnight or so as speculation spread like wildfire through WhatsApp groups the length and breadth of the county.

As it turned out, a lot of it was pub talk - although by my count there are actually 15 new faces in the current extended panel (that’s if the re-called Jonathan Lyne, Jack Sherwood and Tommy Walsh can be classified as “new”.)

Kerry’s full back line struggled at times in 2018 but Keane appears to have added just one player in this department, although a number of half backs are also capable of filling in if necessary.

At the other end, one notable omission is Tony Brosnan, the sharp-shooting corner forward who lit up the Kerry SFC with Dr Crokes in 2018. Brosnan earned plaudits from the national media on the back of some remarkable performances in the championship and he had been widely tipped to make the Kerry senior squad for 2019. It is my understanding that Keane initially included the Killarney man in his panel of 40 but he must have subsequently changed his mind as Brosnan is no longer involved.

The Crokes contingent
Even if Brosnan did make the cut, opportunities to force his way into the team would have been limited. Dr Crokes are currently preparing for an All-Ireland Club Championship semi-final on February 16 so none of their players are available to Peter Keane for the upcoming National League games against Tyrone, Cavan and Dublin. If Crokes beat Mullnalaghta they will have another All-Ireland final on March 17, which will probably rule all of their players out of Kerry’s league campaign entirely.

Keane is unlikely to hand any player their debut in the championship so newcomers David Shaw and Michael Potts might have to wait until next year to make their breakthrough, while Crokes’ run could also potentially hurt the chances of Shane Murphy and Micheál Burns, neither of whom could currently be classed as “guaranteed starters” in Kerry colours – especially with a new manager at the helm. You would expect All-Star-nominated defender Gavin White to slot into the team regardless.

Being without five of his 40 (six including Kevin McCarthy of Kilcummin) due to club commitments at this time of year is far from ideal for Keane but if anything it highlights how flawed the current GAA schedule is.

Assault charges
Keane faced another difficult question last week when he was asked if the ongoing garda probe into an alleged vicious assault involving three prominent footballers, all of whom have played for Kerry at various grades in the past, would impact him as Kerry manager.

In an uncomfortable exchange with Irish Examiner Sports Editor Tony Leen, Keane responded by asking, “why should it?” before claiming that he didn’t know who the players in question are. When pressed on the issue, the Kerry manager reiterated his position, adding that he didn’t see any names in the paper – “unless you know more than me”.

Leen confirmed that he knows who the players are (as does everyone else with so much as a passing interest in Kerry football) but Keane remained steadfast, insisting that he doesn’t know the identity of the three men allegedly under investigation.

In Keane’s defence, you can understand him not wanting to speak on the matter and he really has no obligation to speak about it seeing as how the footballers in question aren’t part of his panel. It certainly isn’t something he wants to be dealing with as he prepares his team for their league opener this weekend. He has enough to worry about in that regard.

It has been an eventful first 100 days for the new manager but now the real challenge begins. Kerry seem a long way away from the mountain top at the moment but as the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Pic: Don MacMonagle

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Are you getting enough sleep?

By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed. Incorporating a […]

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By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness

We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed.

Incorporating a routine helps to bring direction and structure, and as Craig Ballantyne so wonderfully put it in his book ‘The Perfect Day’; “Structure = Freedom”.

In our childhood, we became accustomed to a bedtime routine. In fact, those of us who are parents go to great lengths to create this routine for our own children, knowing the benefits it brings. However, as we moved into adulthood, that same routine was thrown out the window by the demanding world of school and full-time work.

Sleep and health are locked together. When we improve our sleep, we have better energy, mood, and recover easier from exercise. When we sleep better it helps us to make better nutrition choices because sleep regulates our hormones. Yet it’s one of the first things we sacrifice in order to get through our full to-do list. Whatever these or our end goal is, jeopardising our health seems to be counterproductive and also just a little crazy! Why is it that as adults we stray so far away from one of the very foundational rituals that can keep us feeling grounded?

So how much sleep do you need? About six to eight hours is good but the exact number depends on the person. No matter who you are, you’ll feel worn out if you don’t get enough.

Here are some suggestions to help you achieve greater balance and a sound night’s sleep:

Limit caffeine:

It takes a long time for caffeine to get out of your system, so avoid it late in the day. Typically, have your last caffeinated drink 10 hours before your bedtime.

Be active:

Physical activity reduces stress and improves sleep. One exception is not to do a hard workout right before bed as it might be tough to wind down for a while afterwards.

Unwind early:

Turn off screens well before bedtime. Bright screens can mess with your body’s sleep mechanisms, so turn off TV’s, tablets and smartphones earlier in the evening. Take the dog out, brush your teeth, get into your pyjamas, and get into bed before the time you want to be asleep.

Brain dump for the next day:

Spend 5-10 minutes each night writing a list of to-do items to ensure you hit the pillow feeling organised and in control.

Set out your clothes the evening before:

This small task can save you a lot of last-minute rushing. Take the extra five minutes now when you have it.

Cool, dark and quiet:

When it comes to sleep, you want it cool, dark and quiet. Adjust the temperature or get a fan going, hang some blackout curtains and try to reduce any noise near your bedroom.

Buy an alarm clock:

This will help you to avoid being distracted by notifications should you wake and check the time in the middle of the night. Set an alarm right now for tonight. When it goes off, start your evening routine so you get into bed on time for a good night’s sleep!

Here at Activate, we promote and encourage balance to ensure we are living a happy and healthy life. Sleep is one very essential and key component of this. We hope these tips help you get some much-needed rest! When you combine great sleep with sound nutrition and solid training, you’ll feel amazing and make more progress toward your goals.

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Kerry Stars “pursuing dream to build own sports centre”

By Sean Moriarty Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser. The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds. However, the project remains […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser.

The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds.

However, the project remains on the long finger as the club has been concentrating on the safety of its members throughout the pandemic.

The delay prompted Cllr Donal Grady to ask Kerry County Council if it had any plans to build houses on the site.

Mr Grady asked the question in the context of making sure the land did not go to waste and not in opposition to any plans by Kerry Stars.

“The site referred to was originally identified as a potential site for development as a specific sports facility. That project has not materialised,” a Council official said.

“Kerry Stars had been in contact with Kerry County Council regarding use of the site, and it was expected that further communication would be received from them in the very short-term. As yet, Kerry County Council is awaiting further communication and will liaise directly with the Kerry Stars group before we can give consideration to use of the lands under the ‘Housing for All’ housing plan.”

However, Kerry Stars chairman John Spillane said they still “have every intention of pursuing our dream of have our own sports centre”.

“The location makes perfect sense, it is the sports hub of Killarney and all the clubs there could help and learn from each other.”

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