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Kerry soccer chief rejects claims that league breached COVID restrictions

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The Secretary of the Kerry District League, John O’Regan, has said that the money he collected from spectators at a recent game at Mounthawk Park in Tralee was for charity.

O’Regan denies claims that he charged an admission fee of €5 at the Premier A League Final between Killarney Athletic and Killarney Celtic, a match that was supposed to be played behind closed doors in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

He also rejects suggestions that upwards of 180 people were at the league decider, stating that the initial accusations were made by someone with a “personal vendetta” which stems from O’Regan’s friendship with disgraced former FAI CEO John Delaney.

Meanwhile, as was reported by Paul Rowan and Mark Tighe of The Sunday Times, the FAI have said that they are "investigating attendances at fixtures in Kerry”.

MONEY

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser yesterday, O'Regan confirmed that fans were, indeed, asked for money as they entered the ground – as had been reported by multiple attendees – but the long-serving secretary insisted that the money in question was for charity.

“We weren’t allowed to charge but we were collecting for the Red Cross,” O’Regan said. “And what we were asking people to do was to make a donation. Anybody who wanted to donate to the Red Cross was allowed to do so. And people did donate generously.

“Next Thursday night we’ll be presenting the Red Cross with a cheque for €1,000 that we collected at the game. But there was no charge as such.

“Now, the players were charged €2, as always. We’re entitled to do that. That’s a development levy that everyone pays. Otherwise we wouldn’t have Mounthawk Park. It’s a levy that was agreed by all the clubs and very few people complained about it.

“We’re still developing as you can see. We’re starting another bit of a stand at the back of the goals. We haven’t made a bob for I don’t know how long and we’ve got nothing from the FAI. We have insurance and we have work that was done by builders and things over the years. Our reserves are starting to run down a bit.”

GUIDELINES

As for the number of spectators watching the game itself, O’Regan accepted that there may have been people there who shouldn’t have been, but he also asserted that “no guidelines were broken” by the Kerry District League.

“If somebody came to me and said their young fella was playing and he’s under 18, they were allowed in,” he said, referring to the COVID-19 recommendation which states that minors may be accompanied to a match by one parent or guardian.

The Premier A is a senior league so the vast majority of each squad participating in the final was made up of adults. If the players aged 17 and under brought one parent each, this should have accounted for three spectators.

Eyewitness accounts suggest that there may have been around 120 spectators at the fixture, excluding matchday personnel such as players, management, match officials, first aid, league officials and media.

(At this point it should be noted that this journalist was actually playing in the game. While I did not count the number of people and cannot verify the exact attendance, it is fair to say that there were more people there than there should have been, something O’Regan accepts.)

O’Regan said that a training session and another match that were also being held at the facility on the day in question may have contributed to the crowd. He also posited that some spectators may have snuck in via alternative routes.

“There was a few there alright but I can’t do anything about what’s passing up and down,” he said.

“We don’t have the luxury of having everything walled in like Fitzgerald Stadium or Austin Stack Park. They can come in through Tralee Dynamos’ pitch – now, I don’t know whether they did or not [for this match] – and, unfortunately, on the left-hand-side there’s a walkway and people can come from the middle of Tralee or Caherslee.

“Maybe a few people got in that way. There are a few gaps all over the place.”

On Sunday, Rowan and Tighe revealed that the FAI were looking into the incident, but yesterday O’Regan told the Killarney Advertiser that “to the best of [his] knowledge” there was no investigation underway.

However, this morning the FAI have again confirmed that they are following up on the KDL’s alleged breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

In a brief statement to the Killarney Advertiser, a spokesperson said: “The FAI is investigating attendances at fixtures in Kerry.”

 

Read the full interview with John O’Regan in Friday’s Killarney Advertiser as he discusses his critics, his friendship with John Delaney and his thoughts on his future as league secretary

 

Above: File photo of Mounthawk Park in Tralee. Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

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Gaelscoil pupils compete in Fleadh for the first time

By Michelle Crean It was their first time entering Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí but Gaelscoil Faithleann pupils proved they’ve got talent as they made it to the next stage of the […]

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By Michelle Crean

It was their first time entering Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí but Gaelscoil Faithleann pupils proved they’ve got talent as they made it to the next stage of the competition.

Muinteoir Treasa Uí Scannláin and Muinteoir Lisa Ni Iarlaithe prepared the children over the last two months on Thursday evenings after school.

For the competition 22 kids were entered in the Under 11 and 13 categories in the Comhra Gaeilge competition in Tralee.

Three of the Under 11s and three of the school’s Under 13s are now going forward to represent Chiarraí the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan in Newcastle West on July 15.

“The standard was very high and it was our first time entering this competition. All of the children were representing Cill Airne Comhaltas,” Lisa said.

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Kilcummin has strong representation in Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí

Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí may have been absent in the live sense over the previous two years, however it returned over the last two weekends and it delivered with aplomb! The […]

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Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí may have been absent in the live sense over the previous two years, however it returned over the last two weekends and it delivered with aplomb!

The home of Kerry Comhaltas, the Dúchas Centre on the MTU campus in Tralee, was the host venue on the first weekend of the Fleadh, which accommodated the dancing competitions.

“We were spoiled with the spectacle of live dancing of the highest calibre accompanied by live music from accomplished musicians … food for the soul!” Derek O’Leary, Kilcummin CCE PRO, said.

“Much credit and thanks goes to the Moriarty School of Dancing, Mary, John and Adrian who represented Kilcummin CCE and prepared our teams to compete at the highest level.

“We also had such a great weekend in the singing and music competitions over the second weekend of Fleadh Cheoil Charraí, held in the Dúchas Centre and other areas of the MTU campus. All of our competitors performed to the highest standard in robust competition. Well done to all who competed and congratulations to all who go forward to represent Chiarraí the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan, in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick from July 10 to 16.”

Kilcummin had strong representation throughout the dancing competition during the first weekend of Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí.

U12 Ladies 1st place and County Champions.

“Well done to our second U12 Ladies set who weren’t placed but danced beautifully.”

U12 Mixed 1st place & County Champions.
U12 mixed 2nd place.
15-18 Mixed 2nd place.
15-18 Ladies & Mixed Half set 3rd place
U12-15 Ladies 3rd place
Senior mixed half set 1st place and County Champions
Over 35’s 1st Place & County Champions

Kilcummin also excelled in the music and singing competitions of the second weekend of the Fleadh.

Eoin Foley – Accordion 1st place
Eoin Foley – Melodeon 2nd place
Aisling O’Connor – 1st place – Ladies O18 English Singing
Liam Kerrisk – 1st place – 15-18 Melodeon
Michael Healy – Button accordion (12-15) 1st place
Michael Healy – Melodeon (12-15) 1st place
Sean Butler – Button Accordion (12-15) 2nd place
Colleen Anland and Michael Healy – Duets (12-15) 1st place
Seán Fleming – Kerry Comhaltas U15 History Project 1st place

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