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Clifford hits 3-6 as rampant Kerry hammer Galway

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Kerry manager Peter Keane with David Clifford (file photo). Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

Adam Moynihan reports from Austin Stack Park in Tralee.

National League Division 1 (South)

Kerry 4-21 Galway 0-11

(HT: Kerry 2-10 Galway 0-6)

A breathtaking hat-trick by David Clifford propelled Kerry to a comprehensive victory over Galway in Tralee this afternoon as Peter Keane’s side got their season up and running in rip-roaring fashion.

The Fossa man was in truly scintillating form as he racked up a tally of 3-6, the pick of the scores coming 5 minutes into the second half when he faked a soccer shot, sent a defender and the goalkeeper flying, and calmly slotted home into the empty net.

It was an excellent day for The Kingdom’s forward division. David’s older brother, Paudie, chipped in with 1-2 on his first start for the seniors, Seán O’Shea added seven points from placed balls, and Killian Spillane scored four points from play.

The hosts won by 22 points in the end. In truth, it could have been more. Galway were almost as bad as Kerry were good.

START

Kerry had six long months to ruminate on that sobering defeat to Cork in last year’s Munster semi-final and they flew out of the traps today with all the intensity and zeal of a group who were desperate to make amends.

Kieran Fitzgibbon from Kenmare was fast-tracked into the starting line-up when regular goalkeeper Shane Ryan was ruled out due to a knock he picked up on Thursday night. As far as debuts go, Fitzgibbon’s was quiet to say the least.

Any nerves that first-time-starter Paudie Clifford might have been dealing with were dispensed with nice and early when he swung over the opening score of the day. Damien Comer replied for Galway but Kerry seized control thanks to points from Spillane, David Clifford (three) and O’Shea.

Shane Walsh pulled one back to make it 6-2 with 15 minutes on the clock but when David Clifford palmed home from close range following great work by O’Shea, the writing was on the wall. Dara Moynihan could have made it a 10-point game before the first water break but he failed to convert from close range. He did, however, manage to gather the loose ball and tee up Spillane and the Templenoe man made no mistake to leave Kerry 1-8 to 0-2 up at the small sos.

Paul Conroy pointed a long-range effort after the restart to give his teammates a much-needed boost but in the 22nd minute, Paudie Clifford showed precisely why so many Kerry supporters have been clamouring for his inclusion. The East Kerry star came off the shoulder of Moynihan, powered through on goal and coolly dispatched a left-footed shot to the bottom right-hand corner of Bernard Power’s goal.

Points by Conroy, Dessie Conneely and Matthew Tierney kept the scoreboard ticking over for Pádraic Joyce’s men but David Clifford and Spillane (twice) did likewise for The Kingdom to leave the half-time score at Kerry 2-10 Galway 0-6.

NAIL

Seán O’Shea kicked his first of six second-half points in the 36th minute and the final nail in Galway’s coffin was hammered in moments later when Spillane found O’Shea who in turn found David Clifford, and the gifted corner forward drilled an unstoppable shot to the bottom corner of the goal.

Two minutes later, he fetched an advanced mark and clipped over a fine score, but that was decidedly boring compared to what he was about to do next.

In the 40th minute, the ball broke loose at the edge of Galway’s square and when Paudie sliced his kick, it found its way to the feet of David. Kerry’s No. 13 took a touch and shaped to shoot, but, as defender and goalkeeper flew heroically across the small rectangle to block his attempt, the young Clifford dummied, dragged the ball back inside, and side-footed into the open goal.

https://twitter.com/officialgaa/status/1393583983494148098?s=20

It was a moment of absolute class that will live long in the memory. It’s just a shame that no supporters were there to enjoy it (bar the young locals who were perched on the back wall at the Dunnes Stores end of the ground, and they enjoyed it quite a bit I can assure you).

Clifford was subbed off 10 minutes later having scored 3-6 in three quarters of football. The damage was well and truly done by that stage and not even a black card for Brian Ó Beaglaoich could slow Kerry down.

Big Tommy Walsh came in as a target man and long balls into the Rahilly’s veteran worked to great effect. He kicked a point from a mark and fellow substitute Paul O’Shea, a cousin of the Cliffords, also split the posts on his senior debut. It was fine way to mark his 20th birthday.

Next up for Kerry is a trip to Thurles to face Dublin. They won’t have it so easy against the reigning All-Ireland champions, you can take that to the bank. But after a long period of soul-searching and doom and gloom, Peter Keane’s charges will head for Semple Stadium with a spring in their step.

KERRY SCORERS: David Clifford 3-6 (1m, 1f), Seán O’Shea 0-7 (3f, 2m, 2 45s), Paudie Clifford 1-2, Killian Spillane 0-4, Paul O’Shea 0-1, Tommy Walsh 0-1 (1m).

GALWAY SCORERS: Paul Conroy 0-2 (1f), Shane Walsh 0-2 (1f), Damien Comer 0-2, Dessie Conneely 0-1, Matthew Tierney 0-1, Robert Finnerty 0-1 (1f), Seán Kelly 0-1, Kieran Molloy 0-1.

KERRY: Fitzgibbon; Ó Beaglaoich, Morley, Foley; Murphy, Crowley, White; Moran, Barry; Moynihan, S O’Shea, Geaney; D Clifford, K Spillane, P Clifford.

Subs: P O’Shea for Geaney (42), D O’Connor for Moran (42), Walsh for D Clifford (51), A Spillane for Ó Beaglaoich (55), G O’Sullivan for White (55), Burns for Moynihan (62), Breen for Murphy (66).

GALWAY: Power; Glynn, Ó Maoilchiaráin, Silke; O’Donnell, McHugh, Heaney; Cooke, Conroy; P Kelly, Tierney, Brannigan; Conneely, Comer, Walsh.

Subs: Sweeney for Heaney (26), Steede for Cooke (26), Finnerty for P Kelly (HT), S Kelly for O’Donnell (HT), Ó Laoí for Conroy (50), Culhane for Conneely (58), Molloy for Brannigan (59).

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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News

Soccer coach licensed to one of the highest levels in Ireland

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week. Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.The UEFA B Licence is a […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week.

Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.
The UEFA B Licence is a coaching licence mandated by UEFA, the official governing body of European football. The licence is one level below the UEFA A Licence and allows holders to be head coaches of amateur clubs, youths up to age 16, and assistant coaches for professional clubs.

Ramona started her training in November 2019 and continued, when restrictions allowed, on several block weekends taking place in FAI Headquarters Dublin, Foto Island in Cork, and final assessments in NUIG in Galway.

“Ramona played a significant role in the course group, supporting the younger coaches and challenging those more experienced, ensuring that the group was dynamic, engaging, interactive and a real positive learning environment,” said the FAI’s Head of Coach Education FAI Niall O’Regan.

“Ramona has been a significant role model for not only female coaches but also males coaches in the Kerry region and has done phenomenal work in her previous club Killarney Celtic and more recently with Mastergeeha. It is so important to have such role models and the motivation Ramona has shown is infectious and many coaches will continue in the same vein.”

For Ramona, this week’s award was the culmination of months of hard work, seminars and study.

“It was really tough at the time, final assessments had been submitted, everything had then switched to Zoom and we were so eager to get it finished. Luckily enough I got to finish off a lot of the course content online and then had individual assessments with my tutor Richie Holland current Cork City Men’s Assistant Manager,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Then when we returned to outdoor sports in July we got our practical assessments finished with Galway Utd in NUIG.”

ASSESSMENT

The final assessment took place at Mastergeeha FC pitch – the first time ever that a UEFA coaching assessment took place in Kerry.

“I was coaching in Mastergeeha FC in Killarney pre covid and based on logistics and other coaches’ locations in Munster on my UEFA B I was delighted to coordinate a UEFA B assessment with the FAI to be held in the Mastergeeha with the help of the committee,” she added.

“Tom O’Connor FAI Coach Educator and former Interim Republic of Ireland’s Head Coach was really impressed with the setup, the standard of really good footballers and the fantastic committee that ran it so smoothly.”

It was the first time UEFA B assessments were ever held in Kerry and the facilities, committee and the Mastergeeha U16 Boys team were outstanding that day.

She received mentoring and support from some of the biggest names in Irish soccer.

“I was delighted and honoured to receive my UEFA B Diploma Licence,” she said. “Throughout the diploma I’ve had some great tutors, mentors and some great guest speakers from Robbie Keane, Vera Pauw, Stephen Rice and Ruud Dokter FAI High Performance.

“There was a great core group of us on the course from Irish Senior International Players like Katie McCabe, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahy and I’ve made some amazing friendships with all the ladies on the course. From the start it was a group of huge experience, drive and determination was something we all had in common and it’s great to see us all complete it together.”

LOCAL HELP

She could not have done it without the help of her home club.

“On a personal note, I just want to thank Mastergeeha FC for all their help and support, with special mention to all the management committee, teams and coaches. Must give a mention to Allan Moynihan, Brendan Buckley, Paul Lenihan and Ulick O’Sullivan also. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Academy training in the next two weeks,” she added.

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