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Adam Moynihan: Both ends at Fitzgerald Stadium should be named after Kerry legends

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Upgrades are needed at the Fitzgerald Stadium. A cursory glance around the famous old ground makes that abundantly clear. The good news is that ‘The Park’ is apparently set for a €72 million revamp at some point in the future. Realistically, though, we could be talking years before work begins.

In the meantime, there’s one quick and easy way to improve the stadium, and it won’t cost millions to do it.

We should name both ends of the ground after legends of Kerry GAA.

At present we have a stand and a terrace, both named after prominent figures from the neighbouring Dr Crokes club.

The O’Sullivan Stand was erected in the 1970s in honour of Dr Eamonn O’Sullivan, a revolutionary trainer who guided Kerry to eight All-Irelands across five decades.

On the other side of the ground, we have the O’Connor Terrace. It was named after Michael O’Connor, a highly-regarded administrator who was appointed as chairman of the Munster Council in 1986.

In his book ‘My Beautiful Obsession’, the great Weeshie Fogarty suggests that O’Connor would have become Kerry’s first GAA president were it not for his untimely death in 1991.

The O’Connor Terrace wraps around both ends of the pitch (partially at one end and fully at the other) but, in reality, these ends are never really referred to as the O’Connor Terrace.

Everyone present on a matchday – fans, players, officials, and the media – needs another way of referring to those ends so various informal names have emerged.

If you find yourself somewhere in the middle of the terrace on Saturday when Kerry play Mayo, look to your left. This end is often referred to as the ‘Town End’. But Killarney Town, as the crow flies, is directly over the O’Sullivan Stand. You can get to town by exiting the end to the left, of course, but you can get to town by exiting the other end too.

This end to the left is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Dressing Room End’, which is logical as the dressing rooms are located beneath this part of the terrace. It is also known as the ‘Lewis Road End’, which makes sense as Lewis Road runs parallel to that particular side of the stadium.

From your vantage point on the terrace, the end to your right is most commonly known as the ‘Dalton’s Avenue End’. This is where things get confusing. Fitzgerald Stadium is surrounded on two sides by a housing estate that is subdivided into different sections. You have Dalton’s Avenue, Marian Terrace, St Brendan’s Place and Torc Terrace neighbouring The Park, with O’Kelly’s Villas and Bishop Moynihan’s Crescent a little further away.

Most of Dalton’s Avenue, to the best of my knowledge, runs parallel to the back of the O’Sullivan Stand – it’s not at the end to the right at all. The row of small houses that you can see around the back of the stadium at this end are part of Torc Terrace. So, really, it should be the ‘Torc Terrace End’ – although I’ve never heard it referred to as such.

Of course, it is alternatively, and more precisely, called the ‘Scoreboard End’.

With all that in mind, in the interest of tidying things up for everyone, surely it would be beneficial to bestow the ends with official titles?

If we were to go down the road of naming them after individuals, just as Kerry GAA did with the O’Sullivan Stand and the O’Connor Terrace, we certainly have no shortage of potential candidates.

It is definitely a nice touch to name things after individuals who are no longer with us but, personally, I think it’s even nicer when people get their recognition when they’re still around.

What about renaming the ‘Scoreboard End’ the ‘O’Dwyer End’, in honour of the great Micko who won 12 All-Irelands with Kerry as a player and manager? Waterville, his home village, is roughly that direction.

(Unfortunately, this end of the stadium isn’t much to look at right now but it would surely be a priority if and when any redevelopment does take place.)

And with three Crokes men already remembered at the stadium (O’Sullivan, O’Connor and Dick Fitzgerald), perhaps it would be appropriate to honour a Legion man too?

The ‘Culloty End’ has a nice ring to it, and it would be a fitting tribute to local man Johnny who represented Kerry with distinction in hurling and football. He won five All-Irelands with the senior footballers before going on to train the team and serve as a selector for many years.

In fact, he once lived on Lewis Road, so renaming the 'Lewis Road End' in his honour would be the perfect fit.

You can make a case for many other Kerry legends, of course. But, to my mind, few could be more deserving than Mick O’Dwyer and Johnny Culloty.

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Kerry ladies must bounce back at home to Waterford

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All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 2

Kerry v Waterford

Saturday 3pm

Fitzgerald Stadium

The Kerry ladies will be looking to get back to winning ways against Waterford on Saturday following last weekend’s frustrating draw against Donegal in Ballybofey.

The Kingdom led with seconds remaining in treacherous conditions but a late Donegal free snatched a draw for the home side (Donegal 1-6 Kerry 0-9). It was a game that Kerry would have been expecting to win and the result puts a lot more pressure on them this weekend as they try to top the three-team group and earn a home quarter-final.

If they beat Waterford and Donegal do likewise next week, Kerry and Donegal will be level in first place on four points each. The top seed will then be decided by the head-to-head record between the teams. As Kerry v Donegal was a draw, the deciding factor will be whoever scored the most points in that draw. That would be good news for Kerry as they scored nine points to Donegal’s six.

When Kerry and Waterford last met (in this year’s Munster Championship), Kerry needed a late winner by Fiadhna Tangney to prevail by narrowest of margins (1-8 to 1-7). If Waterford beat Kerry and then lose to Donegal, Kerry would be eliminated from the championship.

The Kerry squad has been boosted by the return of Síofra O’Shea who came off the bench against Donegal following a lengthy period out with a knee injury.

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US-bound Kerry runner Lynch hopes to emulate Mageean magic

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by Adam Moynihan

Killarney middle distance runner Oisín Lynch is taking inspiration from newly crowned European 1500m champion Ciara Mageean as he gets set for the next stage of his career in the United States.

This week Lynch confirmed that he will be heading Stateside after accepting a scholarship at Adams State University in Colorado. The promising 800m and 1500m competitor caught the eye of coaches at the leading American college after representing Ireland in the Youth Olympics and also by winning two national titles in recent months.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, the 18-year-old Killarney Valley AC athlete, who is currently doing his Leaving Cert at St Brendan’s College, says he one day hopes to emulate Mageean’s heroics on the international stage.

“The Irish are on the up at underage and at senior level,” Lynch notes. “We have been improving a lot in recent years. When you see Ciara Mageean winning the 1500m it just shows that it can be done by Irish people.

“Sometimes Irish athletes don’t really believe in themselves when they’re getting knocked out of championships by English or European athletes. Mageean winning that European title is definitely something to drive me on. It shows that I can actually do it.”

DREAM

For Lynch, moving to the United States is a hugely significant step, and one that he has dreamed about making since he was a child.

“It’s unbelievable. I always hoped I could earn a scholarship. I worked hard over the last few years, so it’s nice to see that work paying off.

“I had a few schools onto me but when Adams State got in touch, I sized it up and I knew it was a really good opportunity.

“The fact that the college is at 7,500 feet… That’s a crazy altitude. It’s double the height of Carrauntoohil. Altitude training has massive benefits for distance running and nowadays nearly every pro spends most of their year training at altitude. The chance to get that training for the next couple of years is great.

“And their athletics programme is unbelievable. Coach Damon Martin has been there for 40 years and he has coached 12 Olympians. Adams State is in the top 15 for distance in the country and the standard out there in America is very high.”

STRIDES

Killarney Valley AC have made enormous strides since building their new, state-of-the-art facility in 2020 and Lynch is a grateful beneficiary of that progress.

“I can’t thank the club enough. Going back a couple of years we were training on grass in parks. When you want to be a track runner, it’s just not the same. After a lot of hard work by a lot of good people, we managed to get a 200-metre track in Killarney. That’s massive for us and it’s all we need for training.

“The coaches down there are putting in the hard work, including my dad (Con), Tomás Griffin, Jean Courtney, Jerry Griffin, Bríd Stack, Alan Delaney… I could go on. It’s a great club and there are some good athletes coming through. It’s an exciting time for Killarney Valley.”

After Lynch completes his Leaving Cert, he will start preparing for life as a college athlete. He will study kinesiology in Colorado and on the track he hopes to keep on moving in the right direction. That means getting his times down (his current PBs are 1.50.59 over 800m and 3.51 over 1500m), representing Ireland, and hopefully winning a national title in America.

“Obviously I’ll take every step as it comes,” the ambitious Kerryman says, “but the Olympics is the main long-term target, hopefully in LA in 2028.”

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