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Nathan’s Walk continues to challenge the stigma

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This weekend, Darkness Into Light fundraising events will take place across the globe in aid of the suicide and self-harm crisis centre, Pieta House. Here in Killarney, the annual walk is held in memory of the late Nathan O’Carroll who took his own life in 2007. He was just 14 years of age.

Nathan’s family, led by parents Denis and Marie, have run the event since its inception in 2011 and it has become one of the most successful fundraisers of its kind in the country. It’s great to see so many people coming together to show their support for the O’Carrolls, while also providing much-needed funds for a worthy charity in the process.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the Darkness Into Light campaign has been the manner in which it has challenged the stigma attached to suicide and mental health. In the past, these issues were brushed under the carpet but people like Denis and Marie, who speak so openly and so candidly about their first-hand experience with suicide, have unquestionably shifted the dial in a major way. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that as a nation we’re completely comfortable with the topic, but things have certainly come a long way even in the past decade or so.

Unfortunately, many of us here in Killarney have been touched by suicide. Personally, I lost one of my best friends to suicide back in 2009. We’ve all suffered bereavements and every death is tragic in its own way, but there’s something especially difficult about a suicide. It’s so unexpected and so confusing. It really knocks you off your feet.

My main thought after it happened was that I wished I could have spoken to him about whatever was going on before it was too late.

I definitely found it hard to cope and the next few months were extremely tough. I really struggled with it, to be honest, and I eventually decided to get some counselling. It wasn’t an easy step to take but addressing the issue head-on and just talking made the world of difference.

At the time, I probably felt as though what I was going through was never going to end but looking back now I realise that it was just one minor chapter in a much bigger story. That’s why Darkness Into Light is so important. Firstly, it funds Pieta House, a charity that has provided assistance to over 30,000 people when they needed it most. Secondly, it has helped to force the subject of mental health out of the shadows and into the light.

When things are out in the open like they are now, and mental health issues become more widely accepted as simply an illness like any other, people are more likely to speak up about their problems. And that can only be a good thing.

Darkness Into Light takes place tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 4.15am, starting from the Killarney Racecourse. You can register at the Racecourse from 5pm-8pm today or online at dil.pieta.ie

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Relegation battle has town divided

By Sean Moriarty This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town. After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle […]

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By Sean Moriarty

This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town.

After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle that is sure to divide the town.

In sporting terms, the outcome of the big game, set for December 5, is simple enough. The winner stays in the Senior Championship next season and the losers will have to play in the Intermediate Championship.

Fans of the black and amber or the green and white face an anxious week. Winning the county title is one thing – consigning your cross town rivals to second division football in football is altogether a bigger prize.

Senior officials from both clubs are being very guarded on a potential outcome as both sides know the significance of this play off.

“It is a pity that two Killarney clubs, with a long tradition of playing football in the top tier, find themselves in the position of having to play off to avoid relegation,” Matt O’Neill, Cathaoirleach of Dr Crokes, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Both teams will fight tooth and nail to stay in the senior ranks. I am confident that on Sunday week our lads will do themselves and the club proud, as always, and give their all in the quest to keep the black and amber to the fore.”

Crokes are based off the Lewis Road with Legion a short distance away on the other side of the bypass.

“Everyone has an opinion on this,” Legion PRO, Elaine O’Donoghue, told the Killarney Advertiser. “Both sides will be nervous – may the best team win. There are a lot of questions, are the Crokes suffering after defeat to Kerins O’Rahillys [in the semi-final]? Are our lads suffering after losing to St Brendan’s for the third year in a row?”

Every football fan will be keeping a close eye on next weekend’s Intermediate County Final too which takes place on December 4.

The winners of the match between Beaufort and Tralee side Na Gael will be automatically promoted to replace the losers of the Killarney play-off in the Senior Championship next season.

Should Beaufort prevail, a (relatively) local team could replace a town team in the top flight.

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Handball off the wall in Killarney

By Con Dennehy The popularity of handball as one of the fastest growing sports in Kerry is set to continue in the East Kerry region with the continued development of Spa/Killarney Handball Club. On Monday night the progressive club hosts a Beginners and Advanced League at their magnificent indoor facility located at the Spa GAA grounds […]

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By Con Dennehy

The popularity of handball as one of the fastest growing sports in Kerry is set to continue in the East Kerry region with the continued development of Spa/Killarney Handball Club.

On Monday night the progressive club hosts a Beginners and Advanced League at their magnificent indoor facility located at the Spa GAA grounds in Killarney. The club boasts two state-of-the-art indoor handball walls which were designed and built by local player and sportsman Mike Casey. It was opened in May 2018.

“On Monday night the games will tip off at 7pm with 11 players in the Advanced League and seven in the Beginners League. The format of the competition will see quarter finals in the first round progressing to overall winners on the night. It promises to be a great night of exciting handball and we welcome spectators,” said Eoin O’Donoghue, secretary of the club.

Competitors taking part in the Beginners League are Sheila Kelliher, Elena O’Donoghue, Niamh Faulds, Rosin King, Brid Horgan, Neill Horgan and Sinead Moriarty.

Players signed up for the Advanced League include Aoife Walsh, John Daniel Cronin, Eoin O’Donoghue, Kieran O’Brien, Brendan O’Donoghue, Michael Clifford, Evan Enright, Eoghan Daly, Brian McEvoy, Jerry Cronin and Maggie Quirke.

One player set to receive a warm welcome will be Brendan O’Donoghue. At the 2019 All-Ireland Hardball championships in Mayo, Brendan became the first Spa/Killarney man to win an All-Ireland Handball medal. He achieved this unique and much publicised honour in the highly ranked Master’s 55 B final.

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