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Smalltalk: Brendan Kealy

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Ahead of Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Intermediate Championship final, Adam Moynihan caught up with Kilcummin’s All-Star goalkeeper Brendan Kealy

Congrats first of all on your win over Templenoe. It was hard-fought to say the least…

It was. Jeez, it was a very tough game. Templenoe are a good team, very strong. They’ve been unlucky the last few years so we knew it was going to be tough and it would probably go to the wire. Luckily enough, we came out on the right side of it in the end.

What do you think was the key?

Kevin McCarthy’s goal gave us a lift when we needed it. They had their purple patch in the first half as well and we didn’t really perform, but to go in just three points down playing against the breeze… I suppose things could have been worse. We knew that if we could perform in the second half, we were still well in the game.

How influential has Kevin been this season?

Kev is playing good stuff now at the moment. He’s obviously inside with Kerry and he has much more potential to reach as well, no doubt. He’s doing well but in fairness there are other guys there. There’s been a nice spread across the team. But he’s a great lad to have around the place.

Your backs forced a lot of turnovers down the stretch. Is that kind of intense tackling one of your strengths as a team?

Yeah, I suppose it was a frantic kind of game, especially towards the end. I don’t know was there too much method to the madness; it was just doing what needed to be done and the lads stood up well. But Templenoe were unlucky. The ball could have bounced another way once or twice and it could have been different.

You’re now 60 minutes away from bouncing back to senior at the first time of asking. Were there any fears after last year’s relegation that things might go backwards again?

We have had a couple of disappointing years. We were down numbers and stuff. But sometimes you need to take a step back to go forward and that’s what happened last year. I suppose that fear is always at the back of your mind that things could get worse - it can be a slippery slope when you do start sliding. We were just conscious at the start of the year to halt the slide and try and reverse it.

We’re in a final now and it’s a bonus. We would have been happy to just consolidate this year but we’re there now and we’ll see how it goes.

How important is it for Kilcummin to get back to senior level? 

It’s not a big, huge talking point or anything. I know it’s the oldest cliché in the book but we’re just playing each game as it comes. It’s not that it’s this big thing to get back senior. We were senior for 20 years and it’s obviously great to play at the top level of football - in Kerry, of all places, it’s a privilege - but we just wanted to get the show back on the road this year and get lads back enjoying their football. We’ll see where it takes us.

Glenflesk stand in your way in the final. What do you make of them as a team?

They’re a good East Kerry club with a good tradition and they’re really building something again now. They’re a young team with some dangerous players like Lee O’Donoghue, Darragh Roche, Jeff O’Donoghue… Those lads are as good a player as you’ll come across in the county. Denis Reen has gone in there this year and they’re taking things to the next level. You have to admire what they’re doing out there.

We played them in the league and the game could have gone either way but it’s going to take a very, very good performance for us to be there or thereabouts the next day. We know that. Glenflesk will probably be favourites.

On a personal level, you decided to step away from the Kerry fold last year. How have you found not being involved with Kerry after such a long time? 

Yeah it was obviously a bit strange at times, especially at the start of the year when you’re normally going through the slog. But it was great to be back and going through that slog with the club, which I haven’t been able to do for a long number of years. Just to be able to get back in with your friends and put the head down, shoulder to the wheel and really try to give something back to the club. It has been really, really enjoyable.

I think the way the fixtures have been played there in the month April, from a club point of view, has been great. We’ve picked up momentum and it has been more enjoyable rather than the scattergun approach before where you might have a game every couple of months. But I’m really enjoying where I am at the moment.

Stepping away from the county has also allowed you to explore some other avenues. You’re coaching with Offaly and you’ve set up a YouTube channel for goalkeepers. How are those ventures going? 

The coaching is a brand new experience. It’s something I thought that down the road I’d like to get into and an opportunity came along sooner than I thought it might. So I said, “look, we’ll go for it”. I have family connections up in Offaly as well so it seemed like a good fit. I’m fortunate that I’m still playing while also getting the experience on the coaching side of things at intercounty level. So yeah, really happy and just soaking it all up.

The YouTube channel is just something that myself and Kieran (Fleming) started up as there was a real interest from a lot of young goalkeepers in particular who want to improve but for various reasons aren’t able to get the coaching they need. I started @thegaagk on social media as a place where goalkeepers can get tips and training ideas for when they are on the training field themselves. It’s very enjoyable and the feedback has been great so far so we’ll stick at it and keep trying to help.

All the best with everything, and good luck in the final on Sunday.

Thanks Adam!

 

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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