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Rivals clash as month for clubs gets up and running



Senior Club Championship (Group 2)

Killarney Legion v Dr Crokes
Sunday at 3.15pm
Fitzgerald Stadium

Senior championship season is upon us and you couldn’t ask for a better opening weekend fixture than two great rivals, the Legion and the Crokes, going head-to-head in the Fitzgerald Stadium.

The latest instalment of Killarney’s fiercest sporting rivalry is sure to be as tetchy as ever, but Crokes’ imposing record in recent years has perhaps taken the shine off a derby that has traditionally been one of the most exciting in Kerry.

The Black and Amber put paid to Legion’s 2018 Kerry SFC aspirations by beating them by 14 points in the quarters and you have to go back five years to find the Derreen club’s last victory over Crokes in the championship.

Legion knocked their old adversaries out of the 2014 County Championship but Crokes had the last laugh when they triumphed in an all-Killarney Club Championship final in October of the same year. Legion reached the county final in 2015 but Crokes have dominated much of Kerry club football since.

That’s all in the past now, however, and Legion will be keen to start afresh under their new manager, former Kerry senior footballer Stephen Stack. This will be Stack’s first foray into championship action as Legion boss and while he could scarcely have asked for a tougher first assignment, he will take heart from his side’s recent victory over Dingle in the County League when they racked up an impressive tally of 3-11 in difficult conditions.

That opening day win was quickly followed by defeat to Spa but Legion were in a commanding position in that game too before losing players to cards either side of half-time.

The Crokes are also under new management following the resignation two weeks ago of former manager Pat O’Shea. Edmund O’Sullivan, who was a selector under O’Shea, has filled the vacant position for Crokes’ first two County League games and it is presumed that he will continue in the role for the rest of the season, although at time of going to print the club had yet to make an official statement on the matter.

For last weekend’s defeat to Rathmore, O’Sullivan and existing selectors Botty O’Callaghan, Vince Casey and Der Brosnan were joined on the sideline by recent senior players Luke Quinn and Jamie Doolan.

It was an unfamiliar Crokes line-up for that match in Rathbeg as Fionn Fitzgerald, Shane Doolan, Daithí Casey, Tony Brosnan and Kieran O’Leary were all rested after a long year of football.

They were also without Kerry players Shane Murphy, Gavin White and Micheál Burns, who were available for selection but kept in reserve in accordance with an interesting agreement with Rathmore. Paul Murphy and Shane Ryan would have been available to Rathmore had the game gone ahead as scheduled the week before the All-Ireland Club final but Rathmore agreed to put that match off - as long as Crokes agreed to leave their county players out of the rearranged fixture.

All of those regulars are expected to return for Sunday’s clash with Legion and as defending champions the Crokes are surely the team to beat again in 2019.

The Legion-Crokes clash will be Part II of Sunday’s double-header, with Liam Hassett’s Rathmore facing Kerins O’Rahilly’s in the first game at 1.30pm.

Rathmore looked pretty good in their 4-10 to 2-13 victory over the Crokes and they will be hoping for more of the same from their lively forwards, especially John Moynihan who was once again in devastating form.

The skilful corner forward always seems to pose Crokes problems and unless my eyes deceived me, he produced another remarkable bit of skill on Saturday when the game was in the melting pot. I would like to see the video to confirm what I thought I saw because the lads I was at the game with weren’t sure if they had seen the same thing, but here’s my account anyway.

There didn’t appear to be much on when a bouncing pass was played into Moynihan (about 20 metres out, towards the sideline) as the Rathmore man was being closely guarded, but he cleverly flicked the ball over his and his marker’s head before spinning and collecting possession on the other side. He proceeded to bear down on goal and he showed great composure to sit the keeper down before coolly applying the finish.

It’s only the start of April but you’re unlikely to see a better goal all year. When Moynihan is on form, Rathmore are always liable to find the net.

Key players George O’Keeffe and Mark Reen were second half substitutes and you would expect both to feature against Rahilly’s, while Kerry keeper Shane Ryan will also return to the fold.

Elsewhere, Kilcummin play their first match at senior level since 2017 when they take on Kenmare Shamrocks in Lewis Road on Saturday. The All-Ireland Intermediate champions have made a promising start to the 2019 campaign by defeating Austin Stacks and Templenoe in the County League and they will naturally be hoping to take that good form into the championship.

However, Willie Maher is sweating on the fitness of some key players heading into this month for clubs. Kevin McCarthy dislocated his shoulder in Kerry’s game against Roscommon and although he was deemed fit enough to start against Mayo, he went off injured again in that one. Kieran Murphy and Shane McSweeney are also doubts having picked up injuries last time out against Templenoe.

The availability of these important players is likely to be a major factor on Saturday.

In the other game in Group 1, Dingle play Austin Stacks in Annascaul That game throws-in at 2.30pm on Sunday.

Pic: Don MacMonagle.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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