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New winning team for Killarney Race Company

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It’s certainly a case of winner alright at Killarney Race Company where a top class new team has been appointed to spearhead on track and off course developments into the future.

The progressive board of directors, under chairman Gerard Coughlan, has announced the appointment of a new Racing Manager, a new Financial Controller and a new Conference and Events Manager to build on the facility’s strengths and to implement a number of exciting new developments to maximise the potential of the scenic course.

“Our new team will bring real focus going forward and we have very high expectations. It is a very exciting time for all involved,” Mr Coughlan said.

The new Racing Manager, Philip O’Brien, is no stranger to the world of horseracing as he has enjoyed a very successful career as an amateur and professional jockey.

A native of Rathkeale, Co Limerick, he received his jockey’s licence at the age of 16 and rode well over 100 winners in a career in the saddle that saw him compete in the 2002 Aintree Grand National and at Cheltenham on a number of occasions.

An Equine Science graduate from the University of Limerick and an established horse trainer, Philip insists there isn’t a racecourse in the world that can match the natural beauty of Killarney and he said the team at the Ross Road facility has worked tirelessly to ensure the course is in pristine condition for the July and August racing festivals.

“The potential for future development is absolutely enormous and there is plenty of scope to move forward,” he said.

“The Board of Directors has put great faith in the new team and we will certainly work hard to bring Killarney Racecourse to new heights,” Philip said.

The new Financial Controller, Jennifer Pyne, also brings great experience to the racecourse following a very successful career in high-level finance.

A Commerce and Spanish graduate from University College Cork, she spent four years with Curran and Moore Accountants in Killarney and the past nine years with Monex Financial Services in Killarney.

“Working with Killarney Race Company is a wonderful challenge and it’s great to be part of a new team with some very exciting plans in the pipeline,” said Jennifer, a native of Killarney who is married to Derek. They have two children, Ollie (3) and one-year-old Alice.

Megan Daly Tyrell, the newly appointed Conference and Events Manager, has been at the cutting edge of the industry for many years and she has spent the past seven years managing key accounts for the INEC and Killarney Convention Centre

Megan was responsible for submitting the successful tender for the Irish citizenship ceremony which attracted thousands of people to Killarney last May and, in fact, that contract is for two ceremonies a year for two years.

Involved in the hospitality industry since she was 14 years of age, she previously worked in the former Malton Hotel – now the Great Southern Killarney – and The Brehon Hotel and her speciality is attracting high-end conference and events business to town.

A mother of an eight-year-old boy, Joseph, Megan said there is huge potential to further develop the facilities and the offering at Killarney Racecourse and the possibilities for the short and long-term future are limitless.

“The backdrop is just spectacular and the whole place is under-ultilsed. My intention is to make it the go-to destination in Killarney for events and conferences,” she said.

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Jim awarded for life-long service to the community

By Michelle Crean Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community. Jim […]

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By Michelle Crean

Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community.

Jim received the O’Shea Award for 2022 at a meeting of Directors of Listry Community Council held on September 21.

Jim has been involved in Athletics from a very early age both as a competitor and administrator.

He was very much involved with Community Games in Milltown/Listry as organiser and coach. He was also involved with the Farranfore Maine Valley Athletic Club since its foundation.

Over the years Jim has competed in athletic events, mainly high jump and long jump, both in Ireland and abroad.

Recently he travelled to Derby in the UK in the British Masters Championship and won Gold in the 100 metres and Long Jump and finished second in the High Jump.

Jim, who is a very modest man, was actively involved with Listry Community Council as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels and for his commitment to keeping our community litter free by organising a number of litter picking days each year.

Always interested in fitness, Jim often came along to the Listry Seniors Social day and led the group in gentle exercises.

“Jim is a very worthy recipient of the O’Shea Award 2022 and we thank him for a lifetime of service to others,” Tony Darmody, Chairman, said.

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New book recounts stories from the Irish Civil War

The killing of 17-year-old Bertie Murphy in Killarney in September 1922 Historian and author, Owen O’Shea recounts one of the most shocking murders of the Civil War which occurred in […]

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The killing of 17-year-old Bertie Murphy in Killarney in September 1922

Historian and author, Owen O’Shea recounts one of the most shocking murders of the Civil War which occurred in Killarney a century ago this week.

There were many tragic episodes and incidents during the Civil War in Kerry. One of the dreadful features of the conflict was the young age at which many on both sides of the conflict were killed in 1922 and 1923.

In Killarney in August 1922, for example, two young Free State army medics were shot dead by a sniper as they stepped off a boat onto the shore of Inisfallen Island. 18-year-old Cecil Fitzgerald and 20-year-old John O’Meara, both from Galway, had joined the army just a few months previously and were enjoying a boat trip on the lake during a day’s leave when they were killed.

The following month, one of the most shocking deaths to occur in Killarney in this period was the murder of a 17-year-old boy from Castleisland.

Bertie Murphy, a member of Fianna Éireann, the youth wing of the IRA, was just 17-years-old when he was taken into custody by Free State soldiers while walking near his home in September 1922. His mother saw him being taken in away in a truck to the Great Southern Hotel where the army had established its headquarters in the town.

The improvised barracks had a number of prison cells in the basement where anti-Treaty IRA members were detained. The prison would become renowned as a place where beatings and torture took place: a young man whose brother was an IRA captain was taken there and ‘mercilessly beaten to get him to reveal information’. He was then ‘thrown down a coal chute and left as dead’.

On Wednesday, September 27, a Free State army convoy was ambushed by the IRA at Brennan’s Glen on the Tralee road and two officers, Daniel Hannon and John Martin, were killed. Bertie Murphy had been in one of the army vehicles – he was being used by the army as a hostage in an attempt to prevent attacks by anti-Treaty forces. It was common for Free State convoys to carry a prisoner as a deterrent to IRA ambushes and attacks.

When the convoy returned to the hotel, they were met by Colonel David Neligan, one of the most ruthless members of the Kerry Command of the Free State army. Neligan had been a member of Michael Collins’ ‘Squad’ during the War of Independence and was an experienced and battle-hardened soldier.

Neligan demanded to know why the soldiers had not taken any prisoners during the ambush at Brennan’s Glen, in which two of his officers had died. The soldiers, in a frenzy following the ambush, threw Bertie Murphy down the steps of the hotel. In the presence of other soldiers, Neligan began to beat up Murphy at the bottom of the steps and then shot the prisoner. In her book, ‘Tragedies of Kerry’, Dorothy Macardle says that Murphy lived ‘until the priest came’, but died shortly after.

Another prisoner was in custody in the hotel at the time. Con O’Leary from Glenflesk was brought down from his cell to identify the dead man. But so extensive were Murphy’s facial injuries that O’Leary was unable to identify his fellow prisoner.

Newspaper reports wrongly reported that Murphy had been wounded during the engagement at Brennan’s Glen and had ‘succumbed to his injuries’ on returning to Killarney.

At Murphy’s inquest which was held a fortnight later, General Paddy O’Daly, the head of the Kerry Command, sympathised with Murphy’s family but insisted that Murphy had died in the ambush at Brennan’s Glen. He said his soldiers had done ‘everything humanly possible for the man’.

He reminded those present that deaths like Murphy’s were the fault of reckless IRA leaders who refused to accept the authority of the people. ‘It is the women and children’, he said, ‘that are suffering, and for all the suffering that is being endured those leaders are to blame’.

It would not be the last time that O’Daly and senior army officers in Kerry would cover up the actions of their soldiers in the county. Nor, sadly, would it be the last time that young men, on both sides of the divide, joined the long list of victims of the Civil War in the county.

Owen O’Shea’s new book, ‘No Middle Path: The Civil War in Kerry’ will be published by Merrion Press in mid-October and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon and at www.owenoshea.ie.

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