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Rivals clash as month for clubs gets up and running

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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.

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Roger and Brendan really into the SWING of things

A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves […]

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A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves a regular challenge against local players.

Roger O’Sullivan, originally from Loreto Road and a member of the Rainier Golf and Country Club in Seattle, has linked up with another Killarney man, Brendan Keogh of SWING Golf, on several occasions to bring a group of golfers from the Seattle club to play a number of Kerry and Irish courses.

They compete for the Cider Cup which is their own unique take on the Ryder Cup.

In 2010 Roger led a group of 18 golfers from the US to play in Ireland and they repeated the journey and the adventure again in 2012, 2014 and 2017.

They had another trip planned in 2020 but that was cancelled due to Covid but they returned again in 2022 and a group of 44 golfers were back in Killarney in recent weeks to test their skills on the Kerry courses and against local players.

“Since we first started doing this in 2010 we have had 102 different golfers travel from Seattle,” Roger explained.
“I met Brendan Keogh on one of my visits home and he travelled to Seattle, at my request, and organised sponsorship at my golf club.

“Since then our trips have been expertly organised by SWING Golf who book us preferential tee-times, set up the schedule and coordinate our bus drivers. We have never had an issue or anything to worry about. Being friendly with Maurice O’Donoghue, we have always stayed at Scott’s Hotel,” he added.

The US visitors take on local players when in Killarney and this year there was 100 golfers playing on the Killeen course on the first day of their visit.

“The support of the locals has been incredible and I wouldn’t do this without them,” said Roger.
“There have been numerous friendships made over the last 14 years. We have supported a local charity on every trip and for the last two it has been the palliative care unit at University Hospital Kerry. This year we raised €5,100,” he said.

A former student at St Brendan’s College, Roger’s parents were Tony and Juliette O’Sullivan and his father was the head chef in the Gleneagle Hotel for over 20 years before the family purchased Danesfort Lodge at Woodlawn Cross on the Muckross Road.

Roger has been married for 20 years to Amy from Tampa, Florida and they have one daughter, Gracie.
Brendan Keogh joined SWING in the early days of its operation as financial operations manager, working alongside the late Paddy O’Looney.

A member of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club for 40 years, he is the current CEO and he will have served 33 years next September.

SWING, the brainchild of former Kerry Group chief, Denis Brosnan, markets and promotes the premier golf clubs in the south west and also runs an incoming golf agency.

Records show that the company has booked over 350,000 rounds of golf in the south west alone but it also facilitates golfers wanting to play elsewhere in the country.

The company’s senior team of Brendan, Eileen O’Sullivan and Tommy Pierce have 60 years of experience bringing golfers to these shores.

Killarney has been a huge beneficiary as it is a base for most visiting golfers while on the Kerry part of their trip. The locals like seeing the high spending golfers arrive in April for a season than runs until mid October.
2024 is busy and it is also looking positive for 2025.

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Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

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Over 30 members, past and present, gathered last Tuesday in The Dromhall Hotel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Killarney Toastmasters club.

Several founder members were present including Frank O’Sullivan and Bernadette Noonan, who are still current members of the club.
Members embrace the core values of Toastmasters International which are “respect, integrity, service and excellence”.
This year Killarney Toastmasters welcomed eight new members of various nationalities, who have brought many talents with them to this international club.
Outgoing president Anthony Walsh said: “I am heartened by the progress of new members and, following the success of the current year, I am looking forward to a bright future for the club.”
Anthony passed the chain of office on to incoming President Ann Hannan, who is very excited about leading the club in the year that Toastmasters International celebrates its 100th Anniversary.

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