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Smalltalk: Jeff O’Donoghue

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As Glenflesk prepare for their first Intermediate final in 19 years, Adam Moynihan caught up with influential midfielder Jeff O’Donoghue to talk about last week’s battle with Bryan Sheehan, keeping it in the family and a complicated rivalry with Kilcummin

In all your years playing with Glenflesk, how does last Saturday’s win over St Mary’s rank?

It was definitely the best day I’ve had in a Glenflesk jersey, without a shadow of a doubt. I’ve lost two semi-finals already so to get over that hurdle was great.

You were up against Bryan Sheehan in midfield. What’s it like to play against him?

Very tough. You can’t leave him shoot anyway, I learned that in the first half! He’s just an outstanding player really. One of the toughest I’ve ever marked. He’s a powerful man and his kicking… Every one of his shots just seems to curl in at the last minute. He’s an unbelievable point-kicker.

You managed to get over the line in spite of his best efforts. It was a serious team performance.

Savage. One of the best displays that I’ve ever been a part of with Glenflesk. But we’ve had a good few performances now this year since the Intermediate started.

Darragh Roche and your brother Lee were particularly impressive in the full forward line. How important have they been in your championship run?

They’re our scorers. We just get the ball to them and they do the rest. They’ve been outstanding really. The last day you could kick them in any ball and they just won it and stuck it over the bar. It was such a relief when you’re trying to hold out Mary’s at the back with the forwards they have, and Lee and Darragh were putting the ball over the bar every time we got it up to them. That was one of the main reasons we won the game. And they’ve been doing it all year. Hopefully they can keep it up for the next day.

What’s it like playing with the brother? You picked him out with a number of nice passes the last day.

We’ve been playing together now with a good few years but of course we have a better understanding than most fellas, like most brothers would have. I’m sure Darragh and Ian (Roche) are the same. But I love it.

Denis Reen has come in this year to manage the team. What kind of impact has he had?

Unreal. Adam O’Reilly is there as well and they’re two very good men football-wise. They know their tactics. I’m not cutting the management of the last few years but they’re just after bringing it to another level. They’re even after bringing in statisticians and that’s all new to us. Every training is different. We haven’t done the same drill twice. It’s very good, to be fair.

And the players have obviously bought into it?

Straight away, from our first night on the 12th of January. We had a meeting and he set the goals for the year. We’re achieving them so far anyway.

You’ll face Kilcummin in the final. Is there a big rivalry between the clubs?

I’ve very good friends in Kilcummin. I went to school with a pile of them and some of my best friends are up there. But if you lose to Templenoe, for example, you might not see them for another six months. You’ll be looking at Kilcummin people every day of the week, so that’s more of a reason to win!

We came together this year for the Oskars and it was unbelievable. The buzz around after that was great. I was up at the their semi-final the last day and there were nearly as many Glenflesk as there were Kilcummin. There was great craic between the two sets of fans when the final whistle went, and they were on about the Oskars again. It’ll be an interesting few days

What do you think their strengths are as a team?

Kevin McCarthy obviously stands out, as does Brendan Kealy. They’re very big around the middle as well. They’re physical. They have Kevin Gorman, Kieran Murphy, Shane McSweeney… Massive men around the middle. Where we’d be a young and light team, they’ve a lot of experience being a senior club for 20 years, so that will stand to them the next day. But they can mix it too. They have serious footballers: the likes of Kev, Gary O’Leary is back there this year, Podge Nagle and Matt Keane, who probably changed the game for them when he came off the bench on Sunday. They beat Templenoe, who would beat a lot of senior clubs around Kerry, so they’re some outfit to be fair to them.

It’s Glenflesk’s first Intermediate final in 19 years and only their second ever. How big would it be to win it and to go senior?

Massive. We’ve never won it. The great Glenflesk teams that people go on about - the likes of my father and a few lads who have six O’Donoghue Cups - they could never win it so it would just be massive. You can see it already with the buzz around. I was chatting to a fella from work who was in Spillane’s Bar the last night and he said you’d nearly get a belt of a ball inside there with all the talk about the match!

Haha! There’ll be a special atmosphere back in Tralee on Sunday…

Unbelievable I’d say. With the Oskars and everything, the final was just made for Glenflesk and Kilcummin. We drew earlier in the year in the County League and if we beat Listry in the O’Donoghue Cup, we’ll go on and play Kilcummin. We can’t get enough of each other.

You mentioned your dad and I know you’re from a big Glenflesk GAA family. That must make playing in a huge game like this even more special? 

Yeah it’s a big family out in Glenflesk. Everyone rows in behind each other, it wouldn’t just be my family. It’s every family, to be honest. There’s a big tradition there. If we win, the place will shut down for a week!

All the best anyway and thanks for talking to me.

 

No bother!

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30 years of Innisfallen Island MassThe annual special concelebrated Mass on Innisfallen Island takes place next week.

Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm. Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by […]

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Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm.

Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by Geoffrey O’Donoghue who sadly died four years after it began.

“There was an Augustinian Monastery on Innisfallen Island and the people, including priests and monks and they say Brian Boro, went out there to study. The lake, Lough Lein is called ‘The Lake of Learning’,” said his wife Mary who carries on the tradition in his memory.

“My husband Geoffrey was a descendent of the O’Donoghues and he wanted to have Mass on the island. The O’Donoghues built Ross Castle and owned the lands and the lake surrounding it which was later donated by John McShane to the people of Killarney. He [Geoffrey] asked one of the friars and one day he got a call from the OPW that there would be a plaque unveiled to John McShane and they asked if the Mass could coincide with it. It was attended by Sr Pauline, John McShane’s daughter.”

She added that all the public are welcome to attend. Boats, which will have a nominal fee to cover their costs, will be carrying passengers out from 4pm onwards.

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Photo of “hidden gem” wins Camera Club’s latest competition

A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition. Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the […]

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A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition.

Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the Novice category, Iryna Halaieva’s photograph of O’Sullivan’s Cascade was deemed the winner.

“A waterfall is my favourite waterbody and long exposure is my favourite photographic technique,” she said. “I do my best to have as many waterfalls as possible in my photo collection. I heard a lot about O’Sullivan’s Cascade and wanted to visit that hidden gem of Kerry. So, shortly before our club competition I went with a friend to Tomies Wood to photograph it. It was a dream come true for me.”

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