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Killarney Athletic awarded prestigious FAI Mark

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MAKING THEIR MARK: Killarney Athletic members, back row: Martin Muldoon (Juvenile Secretary) and Basil Sheerin (Treasurer). Front row: Diarmuid O'Mahony (Senior Secretary), Ger Nagle (Club Chair) and Mike O'Shea (Vice Chair), celebrate their news this week.

 

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney Athletic Football Club has been awarded the coveted FAI Club Mark.

 

The distinction is awarded, by the governing body, to clubs that meet criteria like off field management, promotion and growth of the sport within the club’s communities and high standards of achievement and best practices.

The Killarney club was commended for its children’s academy where coaches are training youngsters to EUFA standards.

The Academy has grown substantially in the recent past and caters for large numbers of children who enjoy superb facilities on two grass pitches and the addition of an astro training pitch in 2018.

The Woodlawn-based club follow their cross-town rivals Killarney Celtic Football Club which was awarded the FAI Mark this time last year.

“We are thrilled,” Club Chair Ger Nagle told the Killarney Advertiser. “I took on the role of Chair last year and I made it my target to get this award. It is a testament to the hard work of the entire club. We are a collective committee and this rewards the efforts of everyone.”

The club has over 360 members on its books and as recent as the 2017 season it won both county League and Cup double. Last season the club had 17 different teams competing in various competitions across all age and gender groups. Despite COVID-19 bringing an early end to the season, club teams won the U12 and U13 County Premiere League titles.

Historically, Killarney Athletic organised the first ever FAI Summer Soccer Schools in Kerry in 1992, which was held in the hallowed grounds of the Áras Paidraig pitch.

Irish Internationals Paul McGrath, Mick McCarthy and Alan McLoughlin visited the ground at the time to add their support of the event.

While the club is steeped in history, former players were capped for Ireland and played to Premiership level in England. A recent drive by the current committee resulted in several past players returning to the fold with their children and that youth academy is the ethos of the current club management.

“It shows what the club is about, the fact that they came back to us and now they are creating a club for their children," she added.

The club was founded in 1965 by Garda Don Harrington, a young Garda from Cork City who was stationed in Killarney. This came about after Don observed youngsters from various parts of town playing soccer on the streets of Killarney.

In 1993, the club moved to Woodlawn where their scenic grounds have continued to develop.

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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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