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Big weekend ahead in Kerry Club Championships

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A tantalising 48 hours of club football lies ahead with key semi-finals or finals taking place at every grade of the Kerry Club Championship.

There are several exciting fixtures taking place across the county but the keenly anticipated senior final between Kenmare Shamrocks and Austin Stacks is surely the headliner.

Both finalists looked impressive throughout the group phase with Stacks in particular showing their strength by claiming victory in all three of their games. Legion, Rahilly’s and Dingle all fell to the men from Connolly Park and three late goals propelled them past Templenoe in the semi-final. That last four encounter was not of the highest calibre (the scoreline at half-time read Stacks 0-4 Templenoe 0-2), but the Tralee club came good in the second period to secure their progression to the finale.

Kenmare, meanwhile, topped a pool containing Dr Crokes, Spa and Templenoe and yet another Seán O’Shea winner sealed a one-point victory over Dingle in the semi-final. Remarkably, O’Shea has now scored a late winner in four of Shamrocks’ last six Club Championship victories across this and last season.

The fact that Kenmare and Stacks also met in the 2020 decider adds a significant amount of spice to Sunday’s clash. Stacks won last year’s game after extra time, and they are likely to be slight favourites this time around, but Kenmare will fancy their chances of causing an upset. If they manage to get over the line it will cap an incredible 10-year period for the club during which time they have also won the Junior Club Championship (2012) and the Intermediate Club Championship (2016).

INTERMEDIATE

Things are taking shape in the intermediate too as 16 clubs have now become four. Rathmore, who lost their senior status in 2019 after 20 years at the top table, are one step closer to promotion following a solid win over neighbours Glenflesk. Mark Reen (1-6, 5f), Chrissy Spiers (0-4, 2f) and Paul Murphy (0-3) accounted for the bulk of Rathmore’s scores as they ran out 1-18 to 1-11 winners. Aidan O’Mahony once again lined out in the full forward line and he chipped in with a point from play.

Rathmore’s opponents in the semis will be beaten 2020 finalists Beaufort after they inflicted a heavy defeat upon Kilcummin in Kilcummin. Liam Carey kicked 1-8 and Kieran Dennehy added 1-3 for the Mid Kerry side as they romped to a 2-21 to 0-10 victory. Coming so close to promotion just a matter of weeks ago before falling short  (the 2020 edition didn’t finish until September) apparently hasn’t knocked Beaufort too far off their stride.

The other semi-final will see Na Gaeil take on Castleisland Desmonds after they accounted for Ballydonoghue and An Ghaeltacht in their respective last eight ties.

JUNIOR

In the Junior Premier, Listry are on the brink of the final following their excellent 1-15 to 2-6 win over local rivals Fossa. The East Kerry club will take on Skellig Rangers on Sunday with Gneeveguilla up against St Michael’s-Foilmore in the other semi-final.

At Junior level, Firies will be hoping to move one step closer to promotion when they take on Reenard in Killorglin on Saturday. The winners will face either Cordal or Castlegregory in the final.

In the Novice Club Championship, Sneem/Derrynane play Ballylongford with Cromane up against either Asdee or Moyvane.

Senior Club Championship Final

Sun 3pm - Austin Stacks v Kenmare Shamrocks (Fitzgerald Stadium)

Intermediate Club Championship Semi-Finals

Sat 7pm - Na Gaeil v Castleisland Desmonds (Austin Stack Park)

Sun 1pm - Beaufort v Rathmore (Fitzgerald Stadium)

Intermediate Club Relegation Semi-Finals

Sat 4pm - John Mitchels v Currow (Castleisland)

Sat 4pm - Ardfert v Laune Rangers (Ballymac)

Junior Premier Club Championship Semi-Finals

Sat 4pm - Gneeveguilla v St Michael’s-Foilmore (Beaufort)

Sun 2.30pm - Listry v Skellig Rangers (Glenbeigh)

Junior Premier Club Relegation Playoff

Sat at 4pm - Finuge v St Pat’s Blennerville (Mountcoal)

Junior Club Championship Semi-Finals

Sat 4pm - Reenard v Firies (Austin Stack Park)

Sun 2.30pm - Cordal v Castlegregory (Strand Road)

Novice Club Championship Quarter-Final

Sun 2.30pm - Asdee v Moyvane (Asdee)

Novice Football Championship Semi-Final

Sat 4pm - Sneem/Derrynane v Ballylongford (Cromane)

KERRY SFC

Meanwhile, the times and venues for Round 1 of the County Championship have been confirmed. In one of the ties of the round, Killarney rivals Legion and Spa will face off in the Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday, October 30 at 3pm. Later that evening at 7pm,  defending champions East Kerry will take on Austin Stacks in Austin Stack Park.

Dr Crokes will get their championship underway against West Kerry the following day at 3pm. That match will form part of a double-header in Stack Park with Dingle and Mid Kerry squaring off at 5pm.

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Kingdom youngsters defeat Dublin outfit to capture Kennedy Shield

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Kerry won their first piece of Kennedy Cup silverware in seven years by defeating the North Dublin Schoolboys/Girls League (NDSL) by two goals to one at the University of Limerick.

After drawing with Tipperary South 3-3 and losing 1-0 to Waterford in heartbreaking fashion in the group stage, the Kingdom entered the shield. Goals by Thomas Keane and Donnacha Vaughan helped them to a 2-1 win over Carlow in the quarter-final, which set up a semi-final tie against Clare.

That clash with their fellow Munster men ended in a 1-1 draw at full-time (Jayden Hurley provided the Kerry goal) and so the match went all the way to penalties. Kerry held their nerve to prevail 6-5 and advance to the final.

Kerry started well against NDSL in the decider and goals via a Lachlann Scannell corner and Darragh Keane gave them a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes.

The Dubliners pulled one back in the second period but the Kerry lads showed courage, heart and plenty of skill to hang on and capture the coveted shield.

Congratulations to players and management on a fantastic achievement.

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Silver and gold for Muckross rowers at Munster Branch Regatta

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Muckross Rowing Club had a large contingent of crews competing in the recent Munster Branch Regatta held at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.

The event was the latest in an action-packed regatta season for the club that has already taken in regattas in Limerick, Leitrim and a number of events in Cork.

The club enjoyed a very successful outing with three wins, four second place finishes and 11 further crews placing third in race finals.

The club was especially successful in the Men’s J18B Double event, taking both gold and silver in the final with four crews from the club among the final six. The other two golds for Muckross were secured in the final of the Men’s J16 Double and the Men’s J14 Quad.

The club is now looking forward to its next regatta, another outing to the National Rowing Centre for the two-day Cork Regatta. The Cork Regatta is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, June 22/23, with 28 Muckross crews entered.

The Cork Regatta also takes in a round of selection trials, with a number of Muckross rowers in contention for selection to national crews.

The final weekend of June is then among the busiest for the club. On Saturday, June 29, the Rowing Ireland 1k Classic in Lough Rynn, Leitrim is the top national event for Junior 14-15 and Masters crews. And on Sunday, June 30, the historic Killarney Regatta will see local rivalries renewed in the contest for traditional ‘Sixing’ races. The Killarney Six style of traditional rowing boat is now unique to the town.

The busy spell of competition for the Muckross club then leads on to the ultimate national contest: the Irish Rowing Championships in mid-July.

WINNING MUCKROSS CREWS: Men’s J18B Double – Seán O’Donovan, Cillian Leslie. Men’s J16 Double – Ronan Fahy, Cian Scannell (Muckross A). Men’s J14 Quad – Aaron O’Connor, Connor Duffin, Oscar O’Sullivan, Aaron Hegarty.

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