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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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Weird and wonderful insurance policies

As it is January I thought I would start the year on a light hearted note. Lloyds of London is an insurance marketplace founded in a London coffee shop over 300 years ago. Today it is the world’s leading market for specialist insurance, from large maritime risks to space satellites. Here are some of the […]

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As it is January I thought I would start the year on a light hearted note.

Lloyds of London is an insurance marketplace founded in a London coffee shop over 300 years ago. Today it is the world’s leading market for specialist insurance, from large maritime risks to space satellites.

Here are some of the more interesting and obscure insurance policies put in place over the years.
· David Beckham insured his legs with Lloyds for £100m in 2006

· Dolly Parton has insured her 40dd breasts for £3.8m

· Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards hands are insured for $1.6m

· Michael Flatleys legs were insured for $47 Million. The policy was only in effect when he was touring and forbade him from dancing except on stage.

· James Dean took out a life policy for $100,000 just a week before his tragic death at the age of 25

· The actor Richard Burton purchased a 69.42 carat diamond from Cartier for $1.1 Million in 1969 as a gift for Elizabeth Taylor. It was the world’s most expensive diamond at the time. Once Lloyds had insured the diamond they specified that Taylor should wear it in public for only 30 days a year and even then be protected by security guards. The diamond was sold in 1978 for an estimated $5 Million which would equate to roughly $19 Million today.

· According to novelist and inventor Arthur C Clarke, director Stanley Kubrick wanted to take out insurance with Lloyds to protect himself against losses in the event that extra-terrestrial intelligence was discovered before his movie, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was released. Lloyds refused to quote for this one.

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Kerry to feature in new TG4 documentary on Wild Atlantic Way

Three episodes of a new ten-part TG4 series on the Wild Atlantic Way were filmed in County Kerry. The series, which started last Wednesday night this week, and continues every Wednesday for the next nine weeks, follows the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Kerry. In this series ‘An Cósta Thiar’, presenter Áine Ní Bhreisleáin gains […]

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Three episodes of a new ten-part TG4 series on the Wild Atlantic Way were filmed in County Kerry.

The series, which started last Wednesday night this week, and continues every Wednesday for the next nine weeks, follows the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Kerry.

In this series ‘An Cósta Thiar’, presenter Áine Ní Bhreisleáin gains an insight into the culture, challenges and benefits of living by the Atlantic and to find out if seawater still flows through the veins of its coastal communities.

On her travels, Áine will meet with the people of the coast, both young and old. She will spend time in the company of people who live and work by the sea, learning more about the attraction of these areas, and this life, through their eyes, stories and experiences. She will meet those communities and people who have a strong affinity with the coast and the sea, through new businesses, traditional livelihoods, recreational activities, ecology, birdwatching, eco-tours, swimming, boats (of all kinds) and more.

Áine began her journey at home in Gaoth Dobhair and heads to the wilds of Árainn Mhóir on the second leg of journey.
The third show platforms south Donegal while in week 4, Áine heads to the beautiful Achill Island.

Half way through her journey from Donegal to Kerry, Áine is in Carna in Conamara while in the the sixth programme, Áine continues her journey on the Galway coast, this time in Cois Fharraige

Áine visits Inis Oírr in the seventh programme, the smallest of the three Oileán Árainn, to explore how life has changed for islanders in recent generations through fishing, farming, tourism and sport.

In programme eight, Áine continues her journey, heading for the West Kerry coastline this time around, rowing with a local musician, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, a boatbuilder Eddie Hutch and even All-Ireland champions in Cumann Rámhaíochta an Daingin. She investigates the attraction of sea swimming for local women with local group ‘Snámh for the Soul’ goes foraging and paddleboarding with a woman who lives and breathes the sea and all it has to offer, Susan Feirtéar.

In the penultimate programme, Áine continues on her journey around the Corca Dhuibhne coast, exploring the history of trade in An Daingean with Brenda Uí Shúilleabháin and how the coast inspires artists with the talented Tomáisín Ó Cíobháin. She takes a class with local yoga instructor, Ails Ní Chonchúir and heads out to sea with local guide, Eoghan Ó Slatara, to learn about the islands on the west Kerry coast and she tastes some local seafood but she has to cook it first at the Dingle Cookery School.

Áine ends her journey in Uíbh Ráthach, in South Kerry. She gains a different perspective on the sea while snorkling with Gráinne Ní Ailín from Sea Synergy and surfing with Cian O’Connor, explores the long history of this coastal community from the time of the Milesians with poet and historian, Paddy Bushe, and learns about the Seine boat with a local TikToker, Séaghan Ó Suilleabháin, better known as The Kerry Cowboy, and is there a better way to finish her journey than a first visit to the majestic Sceilg islands?

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