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We were all part of Jackie’s Army – Killarney pays tribute to a sporting icon

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We were all part of Jackie’s Army

Killarney pays tribute to a sporting icon

By Sean Moriarty

Jack Charlton with local people including brothers Vincent and Denis Counihan, Paul Coghlan, Michael Rosney, then GSH Manager and Mayor of Killarney Michael Courtney who gave Big Jack a civic reception at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com

Jack Charlton with Killarney’s No1 soccer fan Eoin O’Shea from Ross Road, Killarney, (now a worldwide producer of documentaries with the BBC in London) at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com

Jack Charlton with Mayor of Killarney Michael Courtney at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com

Jack Charlton being interviewed by local media at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com

Jack Charlton with staff from Torc Travel Killarney at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com

Jack Charlton at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com

The great Jack Charlton will make his final journey today as he is laid to rest at in his native Newcastle.

At 12.30 today radio stations in Ireland and Britain will simultaneously play ‘Put ‘em Under Pressure” – the Republic of Ireland soccer team’s Italia 1990 anthem.

This week’s print edition of the Killarney Advertiser carried a special tribute to the national icon and many well-known Killarney people paid tribute to the legendary soccer manager.

Many of us are better at watching soccer than we are at playing it, and for that we have to thank Jack Charlton, who died this week aged 85.

His arrival as the manager of the Republic of Ireland Football Manager in 1985 made us watch even more soccer.

He guided the Irish team to their first major final at Euro ’88 and two World Cups, Italia ’90 and USA ‘94 in the space of 10 years.

He brought Irish soccer fans on a series of journeys that will never be forgotten, and those of a certain age began to believe that qualifying for major tournaments were the norm rather than the exception.

Moments that define Irish sporting history; our first ever appearance at the European finals in Germany in 1988; Ray Houghton’s famous Stuttgart goal against arch rivals England; our first World Cup, Italia ’90 where the impossible was achieved; making it to the quarter finals against the host nation and the revenge defeat of the Italians in Giant’s Stadium, New York, four years later.

These are just the sporting highlights. There were great cultural moments too and he gave the Irish people a new sense of believe in an ever expanding Euro-zone.

We could now celebrate our national identity in ways never seen before and as one hack put it, we reclaimed the Irish Tri-Colour from extreme nationalists. The irony that it took an Englishman to achieve all this is not lost, as “Big Jack”, became a national folk hero and a much loved character.

At the height of this Irish success he made visits to Killarney, and his time here is fondly remembered by those who were there to meet him.

In November 1990 Jack Charlton was given a civic reception by the then Mayor of Killarney Michael Courtney (RIP) at the Great Southern Hotel.

Michael Rosney, now of Killeen House Hotel, was the Great Southern Hotel Manager at the time.

“He was an absolute gentleman to deal with,” Michael told the Killarney Advertiser. “In fact, he stood out as he was such a kind, genuine, natural man to deal with.”

Jack was in town to address the Irish Travel Agents Association annual conference.

Local travel agent Vince Counihan, who owned Counihan’s Travel Agency at the time, was instrumental in getting Big Jack to Killarney.

“He was such a great speaker, a lovely modest man to deal with but there was very little business done at the convention as everyone was still celebrating Italia ’90 which took place only five or six months earlier,” added Michael.

Over 700 people attended the conference banquet where Jack gave an uplifting and humorous speech. Jack retired early as he had to be up at 6am so he could travel to Dublin for another appointment.

Needless to say, the banquet attendees did not go to bed early and the craic continued into the small hours in the residents’ bar.

The early morning revellers could not believe that Jack was still in the hotel the following morning and started an impromptu version of ‘Ole Ole Ole’ as he waited in the lobby for his lift.

Michael Rosney was there to witness it all.

“He just turned to me and said “It is so nice of the Irish to get up early and see me off”,” Michael told the Killarney Advertiser.

One of the guests at the reception included recently retired Killarney Senator Paul Coghlan from Ballydowney.

“He created the atmosphere, there was an aura about him,” the former politician told the Killarney Advertiser. “I can only say the very best about him. We were all enthralled and thrilled to meet him. He was great company but he also did great things for the nation and caused us to sit and take notice. He was a national hero.”

The FAI’s main sponsor at the time was Opel Ireland and local Opel dealer and motor industry legend, the late, Mick Ahern, met Charlton at new car launches in Dublin.

His son Paul recalls how his late father and Jack became great friends and Mick would often act as the soccer hero’s driver while he was in the Killarney area.

Paul remembers one story where his father was dispatched to one airport to pick Jack up. He was driving a brand new Opel Omega at the time and Charlton loved nothing better than to smoke a big cigar after a flight.

“”Is this a new car Mick”, he asked my father,” Paul told the Killarney Advertiser. “”It is Jack”, and with that Jack put the cigar back in his shirt pocket and said “I won’t be the first person to smoke in it so”.”

On at least one occasion Jack Charlton stayed at The Three Lakes Hotel, the current location of the Plaza Hotel, and once again Mick Ahern was the appointed driver.

“A huge crowd gathered outside the hotel to try and meet Jack,” added Paul. “He was bigger than the Pope that time.”

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Picture This announce Killarney gigs

Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18. These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album […]

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Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18.

These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album ‘Life in Colour’ set to be released June 25 via Republic Records.

“We are so excited to be playing at the INEC Arena this December,” Picture This frontman, Ryan Hennessy said.

“It is a place that holds many fond memories for us from starting out in the Acoustic Club to selling out the arena in record time. We have missed the atmosphere and the people so much and can’t wait to be reunited!”

Representing music’s biggest global underdog story, Picture This have unassumingly captivated listeners in every corner of the world, amassing nearly 300 million total streams, selling out stadiums, and inspiring praise from Billboard, ThisSongIsSick, and many more.

Their new album ‘Life in Colour’ boasts hits such as ‘Things Are Different’, ‘LA House Party’ and ‘Unconditional’. Thus far, tracks from the record have already gathered over 25 million total streams and counting prior to its arrival.

Tickets from €49.90 plus booking fees for these exclusive shows go on sale this Friday at 9am www.inec.ie and www.ticketmaster.ie.

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Renowned chef to host men’s charity cookery demo

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To celebrate International Men’s Health Week, cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has organised a live cookery demonstration with renowned chef, Mark Doe.

It takes place on Tuesday next, June 15.

Open to all men dealing with cancer, the free Zoom cook-along event will take place from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, where the famous Just Cooking cookery school founder will share some of his expertise with participants.

Mark has chosen a simple marinated chicken in pitta bread with wedges and coleslaw as his dish of choice for the evening, and will be taking participants through the steps to create their very own meal via this live cook-along event.

“We wanted to do something special to mark International Men’s Health Week and we are honoured that Mark has agreed to come on board to host this exciting event,” Recovery Haven manager Siobhan MacSweeney said.

“The free event is open to all men who are dealing with cancer, not just our own clients, so we are encouraging as many men as possible to sign up for what promises to be a great, fun evening.”

Anyone interested in taking part is required to register in advance by phoning Recovery Haven Kerry on 066 7192122.

Once registered you will receive a Zoom link to join the cook-along on the evening as well as the list of ingredients you will need.

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Loss of Kerry to Dublin route a “severe blow” 

  Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry. Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the […]

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Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry.

Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the airline and appoint a replacement.

The tourism group said that the loss of the routes is “such a severe blow to an industry that has been the most impacted by COVID for over 15 months and will take years to recover”.
 
Passengers affected are advised not to travel to the airport and to check the Aer Lingus website for updated information.

The Department of Transport is currently examining the implications of the announcement while Kerry County Council said it has full confidence in the future of Kerry Airport and will work closely with airport management to ensure the quick restoration of this key route and the future development of further air traffic routes into the county.

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley said that she was “saddened to hear the announcement”.

“I have spoken directly on the issue with Kerry Airport and Minister Eamon Ryan and officials regarding the importance of the restoration of services, including the Dublin/Kerry route which is vital to the region. We are all committed to finding a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity as a matter of urgency.”

The Government is acutely aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 restrictions are having on the aviation sector.

By the end of June, the sector will have received approx. €300 million in State funding spanning employment supports, waiver of commercial rates and deferral of taxes. The bulk of the support to airlines is through the TWSS/EWSS wage subsidy schemes which were specifically designed to maintain the link between employers and employees. Liquidity support has also been made available by ISIF to large aviation enterprises.

This is in addition to PSO support of approximately €7 million per annum for the affected routes.

LIFEBLOOD

Tourism in Kerry generates €661 million annually, employing some 14,000 people. COVID-19 has forced 82% out of the workforce into unemployment. Tourism supply and support businesses have also been severely affected with thousands of employees out of work and companies struggling to survive.

“Connectivity and transport is the lifeblood to rebuilding tourism,” Pat O’Leary, Chairman of KTIF said. “The tourism and aviation sector is critical to the economy and viability of life in Kerry, it impacts on every household. It was the first industry to feel the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the last to recover. The Government can save vital tourism and businesses connectivity by moving swiftly and confidently appointing a replacement to service these crucial routes. Our thoughts are with the employees at Stobart Air, our colleagues in Kerry Airport and the tourism and aviation industry who are all working so hard on recovery and reopening plans.”

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said that Stobart operated the Kerry-Dublin service with great professionalism and customer care was always a priority, and that they wish them well as the face a very difficult time.

“Killarney Chamber won’t be found wanting in its commitment to support Kerry Airport and we have every confidence that John Mulhern and his team possess the ability, the knowledge and the determination to bring about the restoration of the service,” Niall Kelleher, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said. 

“Going forward, Kerry Airport will be critical to reopening the Kerry economy and we must all work to build on any opportunities that arise to provide greater access into the county. Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is fully committed to help find a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity.”

 

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