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The A to Z of the World Cup

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The biggest show on earth is finally upon us. The 2018 World Cup kicked off yesterday in Russia and a month of (hopefully) exciting soccer action lies ahead. Adam Moynihan takes you through the A to Z of this summer’s tournament.

A – Africa’s year?

In two words, probably not. Of the six African nations at this year’s tournament, Egypt (150/1 to lift the trophy) are the most likely to cause a stir, and their star player is a doubt for the group stage (see ‘S’).

B – Brazil

It wouldn’t be a World Cup without a bit of samba magic and the seleção have the players (as always) to brighten up any fixture. Can Tite’s team bounce back from their darkest hour, the shocking 7-1 defeat to Germany in 2014?

C – Cristiano

They might be the reigning champions of Europe but Portugal aren’t great. Expect to see plenty of shots of an exasperated Ronaldo throwing his hands in the air/berating a flustered teammate.

D – Dark horses

No outsider has ever won a World Cup and there’s no reason to think it might happen this summer, but it’s always nice to see traditionally weaker nations over-perform. Belgium must be the most hyped up dark horse of the past decade but they will struggle to make it past the quarters. Our neighbours, maybe?

E – England

Roy Hodgson’s fledgling English side went into the last major tournament with virtually no expectations, yet somehow they still managed to make a show of themselves. Defeat to Iceland was great if you love to hate the English football team and with two of the weakest nations at the World Cup in their group (Tunisia and Panama), further embarrassment could well be on the cards.

F – Fan favourites

Ireland aren’t at the party so who should we follow for the next four weeks or so? Nigeria always seem to bring great entertainment to the World Cup, and they also have the best kit (see ‘K’), so they’re not a bad shout.

G – Goals 

The art of defending is dead, if RTÉ’s senior analysts are to be believed, and the numbers from the last World Cup back actually back them up. 171 goals were scored in Brazil, which tied France ’98 for the most ever. Could the record be broken in Russia?

H – Hooligans

It’s unfortunate but it seems as though fights between rival fans are inevitable, with the English and Russians apparently at the front of the queue. One Russian politician has even called for licensed 20-a-side fights outside stadiums. (That is a real thing that a real politician said and not a headline from The Onion, by the way.)

I – Iniesta

This will be Andrés Iniesta’s last international tournament. What a story it would be if one of the greatest midfielders of all time led Spain to glory once more.

J – Jealousy

It should have been us. When images of joyous Danish fans are beamed into our living rooms tomorrow evening (they play Peru at 5pm), try not to get too jealous.

K – Kits 

There will be some beauties on show in Russia, most notably Nigeria’s flashy bright green and white home shirt. I got my hands on one and will be wearing it every day from now until the end of the summer.

L – Luzhniki

The Luzhniki Stadium (capacity: 81,006) will host the 2018 World Cup Final in addition to four group ties, one last 16 game and one semi-final.

M – Messi 

Is this it? Is it finally going to happen? You would need a heart of stone to not want Lionel Messi to lift his first World Cup trophy on July 15. If he leads Argentina to glory, any questions about whether or not he’s the greatest of all time will disappear forever.

N – No-hopers

There are quite a few at this particular World Cup but plucky Panama appear to be particularly ill-equipped to compete at this level. They’ve played five games in 2018 to date and scored just once.

O – Odds

Argentina at 9/1 might be worth a punt but if you’re looking for something a bit more outlandish, how about Sergio Aguero to be top scorer? The Manchester City legend is 40/1. (Or keep your money in your pocket. That’s a good tip.)

P – Penalties

No World Cup would be complete without a penalty shootout. It’s cruel on the players but great for neutrals like us. It would also be great to see another ‘P’, a Panenka.

Q – Qatar

The next World Cup is four years away but expect plenty of references to the 2022 tournament in Qatar. (Still can’t believe that’s actually happening.)

R – Racism

Russian football fans don’t have the best track record when it comes to their treatment of players of colour. Hopefully racism doesn’t rear its ugly head during the World Cup but, realistically, it could. So serious is the problem, England full-back Danny Rose has asked his family not to travel over fears they could be racially abused in Russia.

S – Salah

The English Footballer of the Year suffered an injury to his shoulder in the Champions League final against Real Madrid and may not be fit to play in Egypt’s opener against Uruguay today (1pm). If available, Salah has the potential to shoot the lights out.

T – TV coverage 

The good news is that RTÉ 2 has coverage of every one of the 64 games (it will naturally have choose one when two games clash at the end of the group stage). The bad news? Well, it’s a question of personal taste but I cannot stand co-commentators Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton. Jim Beglin is good and Brian Kerr I can stomach, but Whelan (or Captain Hindsight, as I call him) appears to be the state broadcaster’s number one choice for big games.

U – Unrest

The Dutch, perennial troublemakers, didn’t qualify so all eyes will be on the French camp. Les Bleus have a track record when it comes to player unrest, most notably at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when the squad went on strike after an altercation beween Nicolas Anelka and coach Raymond Domenech.

V – VAR

The Video Assistant Referee system will be used at a World Cup for the very first time. It will be called upon for key decisions in four areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity

W – WAGs

The media’s obsession with the players’ wives and girlfriends seems to have waned somewhat in recent times but expect the WAGs (and children) of the winning team to make an appearance on the pitch after the final on Sunday, June 15.

X – Xherdan Shaqiri

Nothing too exciting to report about Xherdan Shaqiri. ‘X’ is just a hard letter.

Y – Young guns 

Marcus Rashford (20) and Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (21) coud well shine, but 19-year-old France forward Kylian Mbappé is my tip to pick up the Best Young Player award.

Z – Ze Germans

You can never rule them out, can you? All jokes aside, if you can leave a player like Leroy Sané at home then you must be a serious outfit.

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Pat Delaney Memorial Cup Golf Classic

St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble […]

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St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble over ten holes and the entry fee is €120 per team. The entry fee will include a goody bag for each player and a cup of Tea/Coffee and scone when the round is completed. Tee times are available from 8am.

Killarney Credit Union is the main sponsor of the event, in recognition of Pat having been a highly respected and effective Chairman of the Credit Union. Pat was a Chairman and Vice President of St Pats East Kerry and he started the annual golf classic over ten years ago as a fundraiser for the Club. Known for his excellent organisation skills and a master salesman who enjoyed persuading the golfers of the Killarney area to take part in the event. He acted as master of ceremonies on the day, meeting and greeting every team prior to their games and to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day.

On the morning of the golf classic, back in June 2018, Pat sadly passed away. His contribution to hurling and to St Pats demanded that his legacy be commemorated. Pat had also made a major contribution to the Killarney Credit Union at a time of major change in their business, leading the two organisation, St Pats and Killarney Credit Union to combine and rebrand the annual golf classic in Pat’s name.

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Civil War, a song and New York city

  A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song. On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican […]

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A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song.

On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican prisoners were taken from their temporary prison cells at the Great Southern Hotel and marched to a location near Countess Road.

Less than 24 hours after the more-documented Ballyseedy Massacre near Tralee, the five men named – Stephen Buckley, Tim Murphy, Daniel Donoghue, Jeremiah O’Donoghue and Tadgh Coffey –were killed by Free State troops with explosives and gunfire.

Fast forward over 100 years when local musician and song writer Donal Power was approached by Tadgh Buckley of Killarney Music School.
“He asked me if I would write a song about an incident with particular emphasis on a person who was his long-dead cousin. I told him I’d try and hoped he would be satisfied with the result,” explained Donal.
“He then gave me a copy of Tim Horgan’s book ‘The Stones Still Speak’, containing the story of Stephen Buckley murdered at the Countess Bridge which also contained a letter written by Stephen the night before his death in 1923, which didn’t come to light until six years later. Like many others I was aware of the massacre at Ballyseedy Cross but not the Countess Road, Killarney. So this was the project and the challenge!
“I spent a number of weeks writing a song about the incident. There is a lot of content in the story and I wanted to be true to the content of Stephen’s letter. I completed the song and sang it for him and others at a session where it appeared to make a positive impression. It’s an acoustic ballad which I accompany with guitar.”
But the story does not end there. A New York-based family, direct descendants of the murdered Stephen Buckley made contact with Power.
A man named Thomas Buckley from New York made contact with the local songwriter after hearing the song on Soundcloud.
Thomas explained: “My father Stephen Buckley was born in New York City in 1924. His father Michael Buckley,  named his first son, my dad, after his brother Stephen who was killed at the Countess Bridge in 1923. My older brother is also Stephen Buckley born in New York in

1954.”
Three members of the New York-based Buckley family, Thomas, Stephen and younger brother Timothy, were on a family holiday to Killarney earlier this month.

Power met them and was able to take the brothers to the site of the ambush were he learned that they are also related to Tadhg Buckley, the man who originally asked for the song to be written.

“We don’t know the exact relationship but it is very direct. The three brothers think Tadhg now lives where the murdered Stephen Buckley once lived,” added Power.

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

SONG LYRICS
KILLARNEY, NINETEEN-TWENTY-THREE
A CIVIL WAR ATROCITY
A MASSACRE, A SHAMEFUL EPISODE
FOUR SOLDIERS OF THE I.R.A.
BY FREE-STATE FORCES BLOWN AWAY
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

A SOLE SURVIVOR ON THE RUN,
TADHG COFFEY WAS THE ONLY ONE
WHO MANAGED TO ESCAPE AND TELL THE NEWS
OF THE LANDMINE, THE BOOBY-TRAP
THE BULLETS FIRED, THE COVER-UP
THAT KILLED TIM MURPHY, STEPHEN BUCKLEY AND THE DONOGHUES

THE DAY BEFORE THE MASSACRE
WHILE STEPHEN WAS HELD PRISONER
HE HAD A PREMONITION HE WOULD DIE
HE GAVE A LETTER TO THE GUARD
TRUSTING HE WOULD NOT DISCARD
THE MESSAGE TO HIS MOTHER AND THE WORDS THAT SAID GOODBYE

THE GUARD DENIED THE LAST REQUEST
AND KEPT THE LETTER HE SUPPRESSED
WHEN EMIGRATING TO THE USA
HE KEPT THE SECRET SIX LONG YEARS
TILL HANNAH BUCKLEY, THROUGH HER TEARS
COULD READ WHAT STEPHEN WROTE BEFORE THEY TOOK HIS LIFE AWAY

“I’D LIKE TO LIVE A LONGER LIFE
BUT I AM RECONCILED TO DIE
MAY GOD PROTECT MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REJOICE AND DO NOT MOURN MY LOSS
FOR I AM CERTAIN THAT THE CAUSE
OF TRUTH AND RIGHT, OF PEARSE AND TONE WILL TRIUMPH IN THE END”

“I DIE A TRUE REPUBLICAN
REMEMBER ME TO GALLANT MEN,
TO MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, WHEN I’M DEAD
AND MOTHER, BRAVE IT CHEERFULLY
PRAY THE ROSARY FOR ME
AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SENT ME TO MY DEATH“, THE LETTER SAID

AND ON THAT SPOT A MONUMENT
COMMEMORATES THE SAD EVENT
WHERE LONG AGO THE BLOOD OF HEROES FLOWED
THOSE MEN WHO PAID THE FINAL PRICE
WHO MADE THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

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