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More than 10,000 vaccines administered across Cork and Kerry

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Cork Kerry Community Healthcare vaccinators are have completed the first round of the roll-out of the Pfzier BioNtech vaccine in nursing homes and community hospitals in the region.

By the end of Sunday (yesterday), the vaccine was offered to residents and staff at more than 90 nursing homes and community hospitals, with more than 10,000 vaccines doses administered across the two counties.

This mammoth task has been undertaken by peer vaccinators in Cork Kerry Community Healthcare facilities, and teams of HSE vaccinators in private and voluntary facilities. Teams from the South South West Hospital Group have also supported the vaccination roll-out in the community.

ROLL-OUT

Now, the roll-out will immediately move to residents aged over 65 in other long-term residential facilities, including disability and mental health facilities, with supply of the vaccine the only limiting factor.

Among the facilities where residents and staff were offered the vaccine this weekend were St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Killorglin.

Kay O’Connor, vaccination team lead in Kerry said that the teams have worked from early in the morning to late at night, all with the aim of protecting residents of nursing homes and community hospitals.

Private nursing homes have been very supportive of the teams, she explained.

“It is a great achievement to have offered and administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all the nursing homes in Kerry within a two-week period and this would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all the staff. The nursing homes were extremely welcoming of the vaccination team and every nursing home had extra staff on hand to help in the delivery of this very important vaccination programme. Everyone worked well together and we all look forward to working together again in the coming weeks in the delivery of the second phase of this national programme,” she said.

She also pleaded with the public to continue to keep up with all the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Please continue to heed the Public Health advice. By rolling out this vaccine to nursing home residents and the wider community, we will eventually see an end to COVID-19,” Kay added.

Priscilla Lynch, COVID-19 lead for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare added “a huge thank-you” to “everyone involved in the vaccination programme”.

“As well as our teams of vaccinators, so many others have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on this roll-out so that we can get the vaccine delivered quickly and safely.”

CHALLENGES

While the vaccination roll-out is going ahead as quickly as possible, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare reminds the public that nursing homes and residential centres are still facing enormous challenges.

There are currently 47 outbreaks in residential settings across Cork and Kerry which includes nursing homes, community hospitals, disability centres and mental health services. Most of these are in residential centres for older people ie private nursing homes and community hospitals.

APPEAL

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Chief Officer Michael Fitzgerald said:

“I cannot overstate how serious the situation is right now for many nursing homes, community hospitals and other centres. The level of staff ill with COVID-19 across the health service means that it is difficult for some locations to maintain their staffing at the levels needed, and this is a constant challenge. The HSE and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is now supporting a significant number of residential centres in crisis. Staff are going to heroic lengths to make sure that residents continue to receive the care they need, and their communities may never know the debt of gratitude we all owe them.”

Mr Fitzgerald said that despite these heroic efforts of healthcare staff, there is still an urgent need for more healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants, to redeploy to nursing homes.

“I repeat our appeal for any healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants not currently involved in direct care of patients or residents and who are available to contact me on MichaelM.Fitzgerald@hse.ie.

Mr Fitzgerald said that the best way for everyone else to support the efforts of healthcare workers is to simply stay at home as much as possible.

“In particular, we ask everyone to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone outside your own household. This is the best way for you to play your part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect residents in nursing homes and our healthcare workers,” he said.

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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Soccer coach licensed to one of the highest levels in Ireland

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week. Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.The UEFA B Licence is a […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week.

Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.
The UEFA B Licence is a coaching licence mandated by UEFA, the official governing body of European football. The licence is one level below the UEFA A Licence and allows holders to be head coaches of amateur clubs, youths up to age 16, and assistant coaches for professional clubs.

Ramona started her training in November 2019 and continued, when restrictions allowed, on several block weekends taking place in FAI Headquarters Dublin, Foto Island in Cork, and final assessments in NUIG in Galway.

“Ramona played a significant role in the course group, supporting the younger coaches and challenging those more experienced, ensuring that the group was dynamic, engaging, interactive and a real positive learning environment,” said the FAI’s Head of Coach Education FAI Niall O’Regan.

“Ramona has been a significant role model for not only female coaches but also males coaches in the Kerry region and has done phenomenal work in her previous club Killarney Celtic and more recently with Mastergeeha. It is so important to have such role models and the motivation Ramona has shown is infectious and many coaches will continue in the same vein.”

For Ramona, this week’s award was the culmination of months of hard work, seminars and study.

“It was really tough at the time, final assessments had been submitted, everything had then switched to Zoom and we were so eager to get it finished. Luckily enough I got to finish off a lot of the course content online and then had individual assessments with my tutor Richie Holland current Cork City Men’s Assistant Manager,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Then when we returned to outdoor sports in July we got our practical assessments finished with Galway Utd in NUIG.”

ASSESSMENT

The final assessment took place at Mastergeeha FC pitch – the first time ever that a UEFA coaching assessment took place in Kerry.

“I was coaching in Mastergeeha FC in Killarney pre covid and based on logistics and other coaches’ locations in Munster on my UEFA B I was delighted to coordinate a UEFA B assessment with the FAI to be held in the Mastergeeha with the help of the committee,” she added.

“Tom O’Connor FAI Coach Educator and former Interim Republic of Ireland’s Head Coach was really impressed with the setup, the standard of really good footballers and the fantastic committee that ran it so smoothly.”

It was the first time UEFA B assessments were ever held in Kerry and the facilities, committee and the Mastergeeha U16 Boys team were outstanding that day.

She received mentoring and support from some of the biggest names in Irish soccer.

“I was delighted and honoured to receive my UEFA B Diploma Licence,” she said. “Throughout the diploma I’ve had some great tutors, mentors and some great guest speakers from Robbie Keane, Vera Pauw, Stephen Rice and Ruud Dokter FAI High Performance.

“There was a great core group of us on the course from Irish Senior International Players like Katie McCabe, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahy and I’ve made some amazing friendships with all the ladies on the course. From the start it was a group of huge experience, drive and determination was something we all had in common and it’s great to see us all complete it together.”

LOCAL HELP

She could not have done it without the help of her home club.

“On a personal note, I just want to thank Mastergeeha FC for all their help and support, with special mention to all the management committee, teams and coaches. Must give a mention to Allan Moynihan, Brendan Buckley, Paul Lenihan and Ulick O’Sullivan also. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Academy training in the next two weeks,” she added.

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