Adam Moynihan: Both ends at Fitzgerald Stadium should be named after Kerry legends
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.
Killarney man Maye pockets national pool title
Local lad Matthew Maye was the standout Kerry performer at the recent All-Ireland Pool Championships, which were staged at the INEC in Killarney.
Maye navigated a competitive field at the U23 grade to reach the final, but his All-Ireland hopes appeared to be slipping away when he trailed European finalist Aaron Doherty of Cork by two frames to six. The Killarney player battled back impressively, however, and he eventually prevailed 7-6 to clinch the title.
Matthew is still only 21 years of age and last year he won the All-Ireland Junior Championship. Following his latest victory he has now shown himself to be one of the top players in the country for his age.
Another Kerry Pool Association representative, Darragh Breen, had a great run by making it to both the All-Ireland Junior final and the U18 Singles final. With 410 competitors in the junior section, reaching the final was an outstanding achievement. Darragh has put in a huge amount of time and dedication to the game in the last couple of years and he is now reaping the reward of that work.
Over 800 participants from 27 counties took part in this year’s championships. Kerry had 36 players in total – more than they ever had before – with one team in the intermediate section and two teams in the junior section.
Kerry also had two Over 50 teams and an U23 side.
Cup glory on the double for Killarney Celtic
There was cause for celebration on the double for Killarney Celtic last Sunday as both their youths and senior teams captured silverware in Tralee.
The youths enjoyed a comprehensive victory over Killorglin in the Premier A league final with Eoghan Crowley (two), Dara O’Shea, Jason O’Sullivan and Cathal Kelly all finding the target in a 5-1 win at Mounthawk Park.
A little later at the same ground, the club’s senior team had a resounding win against Tralee Dynamos in the final of the League Cup. A 21st-minute rocket from the boot of Wayne Sparling sent Celtic on their way and further strikes by Witness Odirile and Cathal O’Shea (penalty) helped secure a 3-0 win. Veteran captain John McDonagh accepted the trophy on behalf of his teammates.
Celtic can now look forward to their Greyhound Bar KO Cup final on Sunday. They will take on the same team at the same venue at 6pm.
Their attention will then turn to a mouthwatering Premier A league final against crosstown rivals Killarney Athletic. That match has been fixed for Friday, June 2 at 7.30pm.
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