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SmallTalk: Adam talks to inspirational Killarney teenager Ian O’Connell

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“The one thing that motivates me every day is knowing that people are behind me and I’m being supported.” 

SmallTalk

Adam Moynihan caught up with inspirational Killarney teenager Ian O’Connell

to chat about his teammates, coming home and meeting Conor McGregor 

Well Ian. Welcome home.

Thank you.

How are you finding life back in Killarney?

I’m delighted. It’s different but it’s good.

Since your accident, the people here really seem to have rowed in behind you. How important has that been?

It’s unreal seeing the support. The one thing that motivates me every day is knowing that people are behind me and I’m being supported.

You met Conor McGregor recently… What was he like in person?

Very nice and very laid back. He stayed with me for 45 minutes. It was the best night of my life. Some people make him out to be very bad but when you meet him it’s a different story.

You’ve played football, soccer and hurling with Spa, Celtic, the Crokes and the Sem so I have a few questions about your teammates… Who would you least like to get stuck in a lift with?

Michael Horgan. Number one: he hates elevators. Number two: he’d panic and I’d just be trying to calm him down.

Who’s the biggest moaner?

Connie Cremin. He’d kick a ball wide and he’d say the laces were a bit out.

Who’s the worst dressed?

Diarmuid O’Donoghue.

What does he wear?

You could see him wearing crazy colours. Things like green bottoms and a big, bright pink top.

Who spends the most time in the gym?

Am I able to say myself?

You can.

Before my accident I used to go to the gym a load.

Who’s the best player you’ve ever played with?

Probably Cian Murphy. He’s a very good footballer.

And the best athlete?

I would say Conor Sheahan. He plays rugby with Munster.

Who’s your toughest ever opponent?

Paul O’Shea from Kilcummin.

What’s your proudest sporting moment?

Back under 14 I scored four goals for the Crokes hurlers.

That’s some going…

Yeah. I was very happy with that!

And the most embarrassing?

I was playing football one time and the ref threw the ball up for the second half. We won the hop and I got it and I kicked it straight into the other team’s full forward line. I forgot we switched sides at half time!

Haha… If you could meet any three sportspeople, living or dead, who would they be? I suppose you’ve already met one of them…

Yeah I’ve already met McGregor. I’d like to meet Marcus Rashford and Shane Long.

What are your five favourite sports in order?

Football, hurling, the gym, MMA and I like swimming as well.

What’s the best sporting moment of all time?

McGregor lifting the two belts.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t let something someone else said stop you from reaching your dream.

Do you have any nicknames?

Big Head.

Haha… Who gave you that one?

I don’t know who actually gave it to me but it seemed to get around the school fast!

Do you have any superstitions?

Don’t put new shoes on a table.

Yeah? That’s a strange one!

I’m a big believer of that. I got new shoes the other day. I hadn’t even worn them and the mother put them on the table. I nearly stood up to take them off!

What’s your favourite song at the moment?

Havana by Camila Cabello.

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Eddie Murphy.

Haha… Okay, last one: can you tell me a joke?

My friend goes around breaking up fights in Dublin. His name is Liam Malone.

Haha… Not bad! Thanks for coming in, Ian.

No bother.

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Killarney co-drivers to the fore at this weekend

Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship. The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness. On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin. O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian […]

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Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship.

The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness.
On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin.

O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian Pryce, is the current leader of the series while Galvin, who reads pacenotes for fellow Killarney and District Motor Club member, West Cork’s Keith Cronin, is eighth after missing the opening round.

“The element of darkness certainly brings an additional challenge to all the crews, especially since most of us will not have done any night stages for some time, the most recent I did was in 2017 on the Ulster Rally,” Cronin noted.

The route layout reads like an extract from the itinerary of the World Championship counting RAC Rally of the 1980s, featuring familiar locations such as Dalby, Gale Rigg and Langdale, and it will be the Dalby Forest test that opens the competition shortly after 8pm tonight.

Meanwhile, Irish rallying returned last Sunday after the pandemic-enforced lay-off with the ‘Munster Car Club’s Cork 20’.

London-based Listry co-driver Shane Buckley was the best of the local entrants, guiding Daniel Cronin, Keith’s brother, to fifth overall.

Ger Conway and his driver Stephen Wright were just two places and 8.9 seconds behind in another Ford Fiesta RC2. It was Conway’s first taste of a RC2 car since he and Rob Duggan finished second overall on the 2018 Donegal International Rally.

“There is a taste of more after this,” said Ger after a trouble-free day.
Damien Fleming came close to making it four local co-drivers in the top 10. He and his driver Stephen McCann were 11th, just 16.6 off the leader board. They said it took a while to get used to the bumpy Irish tar after a recent trip to the Tour of Flanders in Belgium.

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Education Minister officially opens The Mon’s new classrooms

A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education. Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room […]

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A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education.

Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room and a general-purpose hall.

The project, which was funded by Department of Education along with money raised by the school as part of their ‘THE MON-ster Fundraiser’, was just one of three officially opened new additions to the school along with a special dedication of the school’s hall in honour of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a past pupil of the school from 1909-1914.

Also, The Most Rev. Ray Browne, Bishop of Kerry, officially opened a three-classroom extension at the school’s present site which was opened in 1958 having moved from its College Street location which was opened in 1838 by the Presentation Brothers.

Former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Mrs Pearl Dineen the nephew and niece of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty officiated over the dedicating of the school’s new hall to past pupil, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, in recognition of his heroic deeds during WWII.

O’Flaherty, who also taught at the school later, became better known for the role he played in World War II while at the Vatican leading over 6,500 prisoners of war, partisans and Jews to freedom to earn him the title of the ‘Vatican Pimpernel’, leading to the 1983 film ‘The Scarlet and the Black’ with Gregory Peck portraying the role of O’Flaherty.

OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

A special outdoor classroom ‘Dotts Garden’, dedicated to the memory of Dorothy (Dott) Hennggler the 2011 Washington DC Rose who died at the family home in Baltimore from a brain tumour, was officially opened by Anne O’Shea (aunt of the late Dorothy), and Àine McMahon (cousin of the late Dorothy and BOM member). The outdoor classroom was beautifully decorated over the summer by artist Katríona Lynch.

Due to COVID restrictions, the main event took place outdoors with staff joined by a small group of pupils selected from each of the classes representing the student body along with members of the school’s Board of Management.

“Your achievements have been remarkable over the last number of months,” Minister of Education, Norma Foley, said today at the official opening.

“It is my wish going forward that the next year in education will be less complicated, less trying and less difficult one. I think school staff are deserving of that. We can put the COVID atmosphere behind us and we are moving positively along. We hope that in a few months we will talk about living in a post-COVID time. The story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty speaks of the calibre of students produced here, but it also speaks of the courage and bravery and vision that Kerry people can have in the most difficult and trying of times.”

School principal Colm Ó Suilleabháin, who is shortly moving on to St Oliver’s NS in Ballycasheen, was delighted to be in attendance to see the building come to fruition.

“It’s a fantastic culmination of hard work by the staff and the Board of Management, and we are delighted to see the school is fully equipped and resourced for the next generation of pupils from Killarney and beyond,” he said.

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