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Mixed reaction to Fitzgerald Stadium as homecoming venueBy Sean Moriarty

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There has been a mixed reaction to the Kerry GAA County Board’s decision to host Monday’s homecoming for the victorious Kerry football team in Fitzgerald Stadium and not the traditional Glebe Car park.

Many felt that the stadium lacked atmosphere and the crowd that turned out to welcome the team home fell well short of previous successful years and was significantly less than the crowd that attended the Tralee homecoming a few hours earlier.

An estimated 13,000 people lined Denny St in the county capital on Monday evening.

“Just a few words on the tremendous reception this evening from this fantastic crowd. I was lucky enough to be here 25 years ago when we turned down Denny Street with Paidí Ó Sé leading us with the Sam Maguire, not having won it for eleven years,” manager Jack O’Connor told the assembled crowd.

"We thought we would never see the likes of it again with 20 to 25,000 lining the streets. But there has to be at least that if not more this evening so that is amazing in itself.”

Later that evening the team travelled to Killarney and to a new welcome venue in Fitzgerald Stadium.

Crowds were visibly smaller than previous similar events in the Glebe and were more scattered thanks to the vast area of the Lewis Road pitch.

“They got it all wrong,” Cllr Donal Grady told the Killarney Advertiser. “The town of Killarney should have done a lot more for our victorious Kerry team. The whole thing lacked atmosphere. You could see it in the players faces.”

The unavailability of the Glebe car park forced the hand of the organising committee but they felt that the crowds were on par with previous town centre events.

Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan MC’d the night, as he has done for many homecomings in the past.

“It worked very well, I thought, especially for young kids who would not have had room in the Glebe to see everything,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“For a first time it worked well, like all new things you learn, maybe put a stage in the next time, or have the open top bus go through town and up to the stadium. It made no difference to businesses as they are busy anyway for the last Monday in July.”

The committee in charge of the Kerry Senior Football team Welcome Home event includes members of the Kerry County Board, the East Kerry Board, the Fitzgerald Stadium Committee, Killarney Municipal District Council, Kerry County Council, the Gardaí and the Fire Service.

“The Town Council and the Gardaí made it known to this committee that they were not happy to see a second car park in the town centre unavailable during the height of the busy tourist season - the Glebe Car Park would have had to be closed off on Sunday evening and all-day Monday and the Fairhill Car Park is currently used by Bird’s Funfair. In the absence of any other suitable venue in the town it was decided to hold the event in Fitzgerald Stadium,” John O'Leary of the Kerry GAA Executive Committee told the Killarney Advertiser.

“In my opinion there was a similar crowd to other victorious ‘Welcome Home’ events held in Killarney but obviously you cannot compare a crowd in a four-acre field with a crowd in a confined town centre location such as the Glebe Car Park.”

“Additional car parking, as had been requested by the Gardaí and Kerry County Council, was provided for the event in the Cathedral field and in the old Rugby field off the by-pass road and this was widely advertised.

“I would like to thank the numerous volunteers and stewards who gave of their time freely to ensure that the event was a success.”

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Black Valley broadband installation gets underway

Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry. The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland […]

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Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry.

The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland to be electrified but broadband in the region is expected to be live in the second half of the year with residents already able to pre-order their connection. 
“It is well known that Black Valley was one of the last locations to get electricity due to its remoteness and challenging terrain, so we are extremely pleased to be commencing the rollout of our high-speed fibre network now with a view to connections being available later this year,” said National Broadband Ireland Deployment CEO, TJ Malone.
  
“We are determined to ensure the rollout is as fast as possible and connection is made easy for Black Valley residents, and we have a plan in place to work around the location’s all-important tourist season.

“Black Valley is a symbol of NBI’s mission that no area will be left behind no matter how rural or remote and we are delighted that this beautiful location moves one step closer to high-speed fibre today, with all the opportunities that will unlock for the local community.” 

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Players of the year don’t duck a challenge

They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh […]

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They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh weren’t going to shy away from the latest task on their home patch.

The two top footballers in the country teamed up to launch a charity duck race which will form part of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival in Killarney, where they both live.

When the working day was done, busy secondary school teachers David and Louise had some great quack and they got caught up in the spirit of the occasion along the scenic River Deenagh in Killarney National Park.

The reigning Player of the Year and Ladies Player of the Year award winner demonstrated their competitive streak when they expressed confidence that their own ducks will win The Deenagh Duck Dash on the same river at noon on Monday, March 18.

But, luckily, festival chairman Jason Clifford was there to keep the peace and he even threatened to cry fowl and brandish a card at the star players – with duck yellow deemed the most appropriate colour.

Considered by many to be the greatest players of all time in their respective codes, between them, Fossa hotshot David and Corca Dhuibhne star Louise have an incredible nine All-Star awards.

But they might be tempted to swap one if their duck wins the fun-filled race on the day after St Patrick’s Day.

All proceeds from the event will go to St Francis Special School in Beaufort, Killarney which provides specialist education for young people with learning disabilities.
Festival chairman Jason remarked: “This isn’t just a race – it’s great fun for the whole family.
“Picture the scene with a flotilla of vibrant rubber ducks racing down a winding river, their owners cheering them on and all in the name of a fantastic cause”.
Super prizes await the winners, the cost of a rubber duck to participate in the race is just €5 and they can be bought online at https://stpatricksfestivalkillarney.ie/.

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