Killarney Advertiser Sports Editor Adam Moynihan selects his perfect XI made up of the best players he has played with in the blue of Killarney Athletic.
Brendan is obviously better known for Gaelic football but he’s an exceptional soccer keeper too. I’ve played in games that we should have lost by three or four but Kealy kept us alive singlehandedly, and we went on to snatch a draw or a win as a result. An elite shot stopper with unbelievable distribution.
One of my oldest friends and teammates, Smiler was a rock at the back for us at schoolboy level. His height alone made him a valuable asset in both penalty areas but he was also a terrific defender who could play his way out of trouble if necessary. He normally played in the centre but he was so mentally strong he could do a job for you anywhere.
Mike Stam O’Donoghue
Stam and myself played together all the way up and he was always a great teammate. He was a very versatile and dependable player who added a strong, physical presence to every team he lined out for. An integral part of our team in 2016/17. I don’t think we would have won the league without him.
Paudie was a warrior and probably the most competitive guy I ever played with. Very vocal (it seemed like he was always complaining but I think it was just the tone of his voice!) and when the chips were down, he always stood up to the challenge. A great leader.
One of the first names on the teamsheet for me. Reilly has given Athletic unbelievable service down through the years and he has always represented his club with pride. No matter how bad things got, he never stopped encouraging and guiding the players around him. An outstanding teammate and a serious baller too.
Jamie is (I’ll use the present tense – I’m not retiring him yet!) one of the most skilful players I’ve ever been on a pitch with. He’s the type of guy that you always want on your team in training because he’s very technical and has a good head for the game. He’s hardy as well and can mix it if needs be.
The elder Doolan is definitely one of the top two or three players in the county and he has been for a long time. He’s two-footed, he’s a very good passer and he’s brave in the tackle and in the air. Could quite easily have played at a higher level.
Another Woodlawn Park boy. Leary was a key member of our Athletic teams underage and he also played a central role in our All-Ireland wins with the Sem. He had great feet and he was a fierce competitor who was always desperate to win. Athletic’s loss was Crokes’ gain – which is unfortunate on many levels!
I often play left back behind Will and the tactic is fairly simple. Give him the ball and stay out of his way. A phenomenally talented dribbler with a frightening turn of pace, he’s capable of creating a goal for himself out of absolutely nothing. He never tracks back, but he’s good enough to get away with it.
As strong as we were at schoolboy level, Diarmuid was always head and shoulders above the rest of us and it came as no surprise to anyone when he signed for Glasgow Celtic. He had every physical and technical attribute you could ask for and, above all else, his attitude was exemplary. He’s a coach at Motherwell now but I’m still hopeful that he’ll come back and finish his career with Athletic!
It was a toss-up between Lynch and Daithí Casey for the final slot but in the end I went for work-rate over skill! Nah, in fairness to him, Lynch is a very talented footballer. We go way back and I was always happy when he was on my team because A) he’s a quality player and B) he’s filthy and I wouldn’t fancy playing against him.
Subs - Éanna Kavanagh, Cian Tobin and Daithí Casey
Managers - Ger O’Brien and Pat Moynihan
Along with the likes of Joe O’Carroll and Mikey O’Sullivan, Ger and my dad took us on some great adventures all over the country when we were kids. In addition to coaching us on the pitch, they always put a big emphasis on discipline and professionalism and I think that really stood to us, both at the time and later in life.
Crokes hurlers set for senior championship bow
Sunday will be a momentous day for Dr Crokes GAA as the club’s hurlers are set to participate in the Kerry Senior Hurling Championship for the first time.
The Crokes famously won the Intermediate in 2020 and after exercising their right to graduate to the top level, they now face into the daunting task of negotiating the rough and tumble of the top tier.
The Killarney club will take on four-time champions Abbeydorney in their first Group 1 pool game, with throw-in at Austin Stack Park at 1.30pm. O’Dorney are sure to provide a stern test; they reached the last four of last year’s competition before exiting at the hands of eventual winners Kilmoyley.
Two teams from each of the three groups of three will progress to the knockout phase.
Crokes will be hoping that the likes of Kerry senior Michael Lenihan and his brother Jack can lead the way on Sunday, while Kerry U20 footballer and accomplished soccer player Tom Doyle is also considered to be a real talent.
Elsewhere in the Kerry SHC, champions Kilmoyley will get the defence of their title up and running against Ballyheigue tonight at 7.30pm, and last year’s beaten finalists Causeway will do battle with St Brendan’s on Saturday at 7pm.
Neighbours Spa and Crokes vying for Division 1 final
Killarney rivals Spa and Dr Crokes will face off in Round 5 of the Kerry Senior Football League on Saturday with the winners advancing to the Division 1 league final. The match will take place in Lewis Road at 5pm.
Crokes currently lead the way in Division 1A with seven points from four matches, with Spa one point behind having won two, drawn one and lost one of their four fixtures to date. The new competition structure, which was devised to reduce the amount of games and travel required for all teams involved, sees the top team from each pool (1A and 1B) meet in the decider.
In the other pot, Kerin’s O’Rahilly’s are favourites to finish first as they currently sit on top of the pile with seven points. The Killarney Legion are still in contention – they find themselves just one point behind in second – but Rahilly’s will fancy themselves to win their final group phase match against bottom-of-the-table Beaufort. Legion travel back west to play An Ghaeltacht in Gallarus.
Beaufort have already been relegated to Division 2 for 2022 on the back of four consecutive defeats and they will be joined in D2 by the bottom-placed team in Division 1A. Kilcummin currently occupy that position but they can claw their way out of danger with a final day victory over Austin Stacks.
The second-from-bottom team in each pool will also meet in a playoff to decide the third and final team to be relegated to Division 2. These places will go down to the wire with John Mitchels and Stacks in the firing line in 1A and Rathmore, Kenmare Shamrocks and An Ghaeltacht all potential candidates in 1B.
In the second division, Castleisland Desmonds can secure their promotion back to the top table by defeating Na Gaeil in their final fixture, thereby securing top spot in Division 2A. It’s all to play for in 2B as Templenoe, Gneeveguilla and Ballymacelligott are joint top on six points apiece.
The runners-up in both pools will also play each other to decide the third team to be promoted with Glenbeigh-Glencar and St Mary’s in contention in 2A. They will duke it out for that final spot when they meet in Glenbeigh on Saturday; in fact, the winners will secure automatic promotion if Desmonds lose to Na Gaeil in Tralee.
The Dr Crokes B team are currently facing the chop as they sit bottom of 2A on zero points, but they can avoid automatic relegation by beating the team directly above them (Ballydonoghue) away from home on Sunday. Listry can do likewise in 2B if they can get the better of Dromid Pearses in Listry. If Crokes and Listry do the needful, they will meet in a relegation playoff to see who will retain their Division 2 status.
Churchill and Listowel lead the way in Division 3A with Laune Rangers, Milltown/Castlemaine and Brosna in the running in 3B. Glenflesk are safe but the same cannot be said of Currow, who will need to defeat St Senan’s to have any hope of avoiding the drop.
Firies are in pole position in Division 4A with Renard and then Fossa gunning for top spot in 4B. Stacks B and Cordal are in pole position in Divisions 5A and 5B, and it’s all to play for in Division 6 as the B teams of Dingle, Firies, Fossa, Kenmare, Glenflesk and Rathmore, as well as the Dr Crokes C team and Tuosist, are all still in the mix for promotion.
Full fixture list and tables can be found on the Kerry GAA website and across the Kerry GAA social media channels.
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