Writing exclusively for the Killarney Advertiser, The Secret Kerry Footballer reveals what’s really going on inside the GAA
Hurlers are mad. I was standing next to Jackie Tyrrell at some launch up in Croke Park a few years ago and while we were hanging around for our photo to be taken, I decided to strike up a conversation. Just to be nice, like.
“Well Jackie. How’s the form?”
“What do ya mean by that?!” he snapped, his eyes widening. “I know I wasn’t at the races against Tipp. I know that more than any man!”
By this stage, his nose was touching mine.
“Jesus, relax boy,” I said. “I’m only here to sell a bit of protein milk.”
“Believe you me, I’ll be back,” he growled through gritted teeth. “We’ll be back. Ye’ll rue the day ye ever wrote off Kilkenny!” Then he ripped off his Avonmore t-shirt and sprinted off down the tunnel under the Hogan Stand.
I turned and made eye contact with Cillian O’Connor, who was only a young fella at the time. He was rightly shook by the whole thing. There’s a joke to be made there about Mayo footballers in Croke Park but that’d be easy pickings.
Much like the Mayo footballers in Croke Park.
Kilkenny won the All-Ireland the following year and Tyrrell was immense. When he got his hands on the Liam McCarthy, he turned and glared into the nearest TV camera and put his finger to his lips. “He has silenced his critics,” Ger Canning exclaimed. Cillian texted me and asked if it was aimed at me. It probably was.
The point of my story is that hurlers are mad. I know this from dealing with them (from a safe distance) for many years. But I was still shocked by Austin Gleeson’s recent comments about cancelling Christmas. The Waterford hurler said that he has always enjoyed his Christmases but this year he has made a “conscious decision” to not do that so he can train and be ready for next season. Lads. A conscious decision to not enjoy Christmas. Have you ever heard the like?
Even the German and British soldiers in World War I took a break from shooting each other’s heads off on Christmas Day. But no, that’s not good enough for Austin Gleeson.
If Austin Gleeson was on the front line on Christmas Day, 1914, he would have spent his morning analysing the other army’s likely formations and his afternoon doing the beep test. And the lads having the craic out in no man’s land.
No beer for Christmas. Lord God. The way the GAA has gone, alcohol is effectively banned for 95% of the year as it is. And now they want to take Christmas off us as well? As a footballer in Kerry, the festive season is the only time you can safely go on the lash without fear of repercussions. If you go out drinking at any stage from January to November, there’s a decent chance you’ll look across the bar and see some auld lad judging you from behind his pint. There’ll be nothing verbal but he’ll tell you with his eyes. “Ye’ve a game on Sunday.” Yeah. Good man.
Of course, the irony of it all is that back in the auld lad’s day, beer bans didn’t even exist. He might have been advised to stay away from the top shelf the night before a county final but that was about the size of it.
Our club secretary caught me flooring Sambucas in Mustang’s one night before an O’Donoghue Cup semi-final and he had a right cut off me. Very high and mighty stuff altogether. I contemplated putting the head down and taking my bollocking but then he brought up what I allegedly did on that Kerry trip to Orlando. I had to say something.
“My father told me that when you played, you were encouraged to go drinking the night before a match because there was no way a hangover could make you any worse.”
I wasn’t long quietening him. And we won the following day as well.
To be fair, Paul Murphy scored 1-4 off me and I was whipped at half-time. But look, it’s a team game.
Illustration: Adam Moynihan.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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...
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...
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