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Celtic youths on cusp of history

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FAI Youth Cup Final
Killarney Celtic v Douglas Hall
Sunday at 2pm
Mounthawk Park, Tralee

 

Killarney Celtic’s exploits in this season’s FAI Youth Cup are already the stuff of club legend but this talented group of youngsters are not quite finished yet.

Over the course of an elongated campaign, they have achieved some incredible results against top class opposition. Now it’s time to take that extra step and secure this prestigious national title for the first time in the club’s history.

If their games to date are anything to go by, we could be set for a spectacular finale.

SPECIAL

It takes a special kind of team to make it all the way to an All-Ireland final. Talent is important, of course, but equally important is the right attitude and the will to win. In Round 1, Celtic showed that they have all of these qualities in abundance.

Half-way through their opening round match against Killorglin in October of 2019, The Hoops were on the ropes. In fact, it was far worse than that. They were on the canvas and on the brink of being counted out. A disastrous opening 45 minutes saw the reigning league and cup champions trailing by four goals to nil and it looked for all the world as though their FAI adventure was about to be over before it had even started.

With the words of mentors Matt Keane, Jerry Falvey and Conor McCarthy ringing in their ears, they managed to pull themselves back up to their feet, and then came the fightback. A brace apiece by skipper Terry Sparling and attacking midfielder Dylan Callaghan sent the match to extra time, and centre midfielder Evan Looney popped up with the all-important winner to complete an unbelievable turnaround.

The victory set up a derby versus Killarney Athletic in Round 2 and when Callaghan (two) and Pádraic Looney gave them a 3-0 lead, Athletic seemed to be defeated. The Blues responded well, however, and they staged a comeback of their own to send the match to overtime. Once again it was a midfielder who came up with the goods for Celtic in ET as James Darmody netted to send his side into the third round.

A trip to Galway to play Bearna/Na Forbacha followed with a place in the last 16 at stake. Despite conceding an early goal to their hosts, Celtic ran out 6-1 winners with Sparling (two), Pádraic Looney, Jason Kerins, Callaghan and Darmody all finding the target. Now the bus was really rolling.

DOMINANT

This result led to a home tie against Waterford’s Villa FC in mid-February. In front a sizeable home crowd (remember those?), Killarney Celtic put in a very dominant performance. Callaghan, Darmody and Jackson O’Mahony were the goalscorers as The Celts won 3-1 to make it through to the last eight.

Park United from Mitchelstown were the next team to get the Celtic treatment and strikes by Sparling and wide man Ruairí Doyle sent the Cork men home empty-handed.

Galway giants Mervue rolled into town for the semi-final a fortnight ago and the old seanfhocal ‘tús maith leath na hoibre’ rang true for the hosts as early goals by Evan Looney and Emmet Cronin set them up for an impressive 2-1 win.

IMMORTALITY

Only one Kerry team (Tralee Dynamos in 1998) have won the FAI Youth Cup in its 85-year history. Celtic came mightily close in 2011 when they made it all the way to the final before succumbing to Cork City.

For this current crop of Celtic youngsters, Douglas Hall of Cork stand between them and immortality.

 

This match is ticket only and will be streamed live on the Full Time Productions Facebook page.

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Glorious weather for Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships

It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough […]

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It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough Bay on Lough Lein.

Hundreds flocked to the Valley shore to see the coastal clubs of Kerry race in crews from Under 12 to Masters. As well as clubs from around the Ring of Kerry, there was a strong representation from the Killarney clubs with the Workmen, Commercials and Fossa wearing their colours with pride. The atmosphere, colour, fun and fierce competition produced a spectacular day that will live long in the memory.

The event was opened by the Councillor John O’Donoghue, vice chair of the Killarney Municipal District who congratulated Flesk Valley on their centenary, which occurred during 1920, and wished all of the clubs a successful day’s racing.

The first race was preceded by a special blessing of the boats by Fr Eugene McGillycuddy, who also remembered Brendan Teahan of Cromane Rowing Club in his prayers.

Afterwards John Fleming, chair of Flesk Valley, expressed his immense pride and satisfaction with the success of the regatta.

“It’s our first time ever hosting a regatta, but we wanted to do something special to mark our 102 years in existence,” he said.

“It was a lot of work, but we have a fantastic hard-working committee in Flesk Valley who really pulled out all the stops to make it happen, and we received fantastic support from our members, parents, other clubs and local businesses.”

John also thanked the Kerry Coastal Rowing Association, in particular Mary B Teahan and Andrew Wharton, and the staff of the Killarney National Park for all their support and encouragement in hosting this event.

This was a qualifying event and the Kerry clubs will be heading to Wexford next weekend to complete for honours at the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships.

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Live referee mics should be the norm – swearing concerns be damned

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by Adam Moynihan

I was disappointed to learn that the GAA are preventing TG4 from using their live referee mic in this Sunday’s Wexford hurling final.

(And not just because I had already written an article saying how great live referee mics are and how they are sure to be implemented across the board. Ctrl + A. Delete.)

TG4’s GAA coverage is superb and they raised the bar once again when they mic’d up referee John O’Halloran for the Kerry hurling final between Causeway and Ballyduff.

Pinning a microphone on the referee is standard practice in televised rugby and judging by the positive response to Gaelic games’ first foray into this territory, I was expecting it to become the norm.

It still might but, explaining their decision to The 42, the GAA said that they were not aware beforehand of the ref mic being trialled in Stack Park on Sunday.

“They believe such a development will require more discussion and education if it is to be implemented on a more regular basis in live TV coverage and could possibly need a policy change,” Fintan O’Toole reported.

The image of the Association is surely the primary concern here.

Players and managers – usually the worst behaved participants when it comes to things like swearing – will be among those who get “educated” on the subject. Some verbal abuse that might otherwise be muted for television viewers will, in all likelihood, be picked up by the referee’s microphone. You would imagine that the teams involved will be reminded of this the week of a televised game.

It also makes sense from Croke Park’s point of view to speak to referees and give them guidance on how to conduct themselves when the mic is on.

In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if senior GAA figures are currently fretting over the possibility of an agitated ref making headlines for something they say in the heat of the moment. And make no mistake about it, some match officials can eff and jeff with the best of them.

A friend of mine (a Wexford man, funnily enough) recalls an incident when a teammate was unceremoniously taken out of it by an opponent.

“Ah ref, for f***’s sake!” the victim complained.

“I gave you the f***ing free,” the referee replied. “What do you want me to do, slap him in the face with a wet fish?!”

The GAA might think that a referee swearing like that would leave all of us red-faced. In reality the clip would be a viral sensation and the general public would probably call for the official in question to run for Áras an Uachtárain. (He’d get my ****ing vote.)

The odd swear word from someone involved is bound to sneak through every now and then but you’d hear the same – and plenty more – at any match you attend from Cahersiveen to County Antrim.

Implementing the referee mic on a wider scale is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t appear to take a huge amount of effort or expense for the broadcaster to set it up and, more importantly, it offers a wonderful insight into the unknown.

Listening to referees explain their decisions in real time will clear a lot of things up for commentators, analysts and the media. We will no longer have to speculate about what they did or did not see, or what specific rule is being cited, or why.

Viewers, especially those who might be casual followers of the sport, will appreciate it too and become more educated; I know that’s how I feel when I watch rugby, for example.

It just leads to greater transparency and understanding.

Well done to TG4 and the Kerry County Board for being the pioneers. I’m sure others will follow their lead – as soon as the GAA allow them to do so.

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