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Clinical Clifford puts Mayo to the sword

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Adam Moynihan reports from Croke Park, Dublin

National League: Division 1 Final

Kerry 3-19 Mayo 0-13

Croke Park

Another wondrous display by David Clifford helped Kerry to a surprisingly comprehensive victory over Mayo in today’s National League Division 1 final.

Clifford was simply sensational on the day, tormenting his marker Pádraig O’Hora and scoring six points and a classy goal the process.

For Mayo, the only real positive was the return of long-term injury concern Cillian O’Connor. The championship’s all-time leadings scorer received a warm Croke Park welcome when he was introduced as a substitute in the 56th minute but not even he could penetrate Kerry’s mean defensive unit.

In truth, Kerry were dominant all over the pitch as they retained their league title and secured a unique two-and-a-half-in-a-row.

WHITE GOAL

Points by David Clifford, Stephen O’Brien and Adrian Spillane gave Kerry a 3-2 lead by the 10-minute mark but it could (and, perhaps, should) have been much more. Paudie Clifford failed to convert a goal chance in the 5th minute and then Tadhg Morley squared for David Clifford but the Mayo defence did enough to put him off.

Even so, scores by the Clifford brothers gave Kerry a three-point advantage, and points by James Carr and Jordan Flynn were cancelled out by Paul Geaney and Jack Barry to leave the scores at 0-7 to 0-4 with 20 minutes on the clock.

Kerry welcomed Gavin White back into the starting line-up and the incredibly pacy wing back cause the opposition all sorts of problems in that first half. White’s efforts were rewarded in the 24th minute when he bravely reached for Paul Geaney’s deflected shot and palmed home Kerry’s first goal of the game. He received a severe whack in the face for his troubles and had to leave the field, but thankfully he returned later in the half.

That goal put some daylight between the sides and The Kingdom never looked back. David Clifford launched over another beauty to make it a seven-point game and although Mayo went on a mini-run with points by Ryan O’Donoghue, James Carr and Conor Loftus, it was Kerry who finished the half in the ascendency.

David Clifford brushed aside the challenge of O’Hora to chalk up his fourth of the day and then goalkeeper Shane Ryan marched forward to send over a spectacular free from way out on the Cusack Stand sideline. Ryan’s point would prove to be the last of the period and Kerry went in six points to the good (1-10 to 0-7).

GAP

Despite some fine scores from Michael Plunkett and Ryan O’Donoghue (two), Mayo were unable to eat into Kerry’s lead in the third quarter. Paul Geaney (two) and a Paudie Clifford 45 kept The Kingdom ticking over and when things opened up for Dara Moynihan in the 49th minute, he made no mistake to widen the gap to seven.

Kerry were dealt a blow in the 51st minute when Diarmuid O’Connor received a black card and when O’Donoghue scored again, Mayo were dreaming of a comeback. It was the Kerry faithful who liked what they saw next, however, as their boys rattled off 1-5 without reply to put the outcome of this final beyond doubt.

First the younger Clifford fired over a superb point from a tricky angle, and then Adrian Spillane scored an excellent solo effort after he was picked out by his half forward line colleague Moynihan. Paul Geaney picked off another fine score in the 57th minute before the walking highlight reel, David Clifford, buried the opposition almost singlehandedly.

Clifford had O’Hora hanging off him and chatting into his ear all day but the Fossa superstar did his talking with ball in hand. After receiving a pass from Tony Brosnan, he breezed by his Mayo marker and popped over his sixth point. Then, in the 66th minute, he left O’Hora eating dust before dispatching a perfectly placed right-footed shot beyond the reach of Rory Byrne in the Mayo goal. The score now read 2-18 to 0-11 and Kerry had two hands on the cup.

Geaney added his fifth point and then, two minutes into stoppage time, Jason Foley sprinted 136 metres to gather a deflected shot and score Kerry’s third goal of the game. Foley was one of Kerry’s best performers throughout the league and speaking to the media after the game, Jack O’Connor noted that it was only fitting that the Ballydonogue man should round off the campaign in style.

Afterwards, stand-in captain and Man of the Match David Clifford and captain Joe O’Connor lifted the Division 1 cup together. Kerry supporters will be hoping that it’s not the last time the pair get their hands on silverware this season.

KERRY: S Ryan (0-1f); G O’Sullivan, J Foley (1-0), T O'Sullivan; G White (1-0), T Morley, B Ó Beaglaoich; D O’Connor, J Barry (0-1); D Moynihan (0-1), P Clifford (0-2, 1 ‘45), A Spillane (0-2); S O’Brien (0-1), D Clifford (1-6, 1f), P Geaney (0-5, 1f).

Subs: G Crowley for White (temp 27-32), T Brosnan for O’Brien (49), G Crowley for White (53), M Burns for Spillane (63), J O’Connor for Barry (67), J Savage for Moynihan (67).

MAYO: R Byrne; L Keegan, S Coen, P O’Hora; M Plunkett (0-2), R Brickenden, E Hession; J Flynn (0-1), M Ruane (0-1); C Loftus (0-1), A O’Shea, J Carney; J Carr (0-2), J Doherty, R O’Donoghue (0-5, 2f).

Subs: K McLoughlin for Carney (HT), C O’Shea for Flynn (47), A Orme for Doherty (50), C O’Connor for Carr (56), D McHale for Ruane (67).

Attendance: 31,506

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Lough Lein anglers enjoy annual charity day 

It’s always a popular event, and Sunday was no different for the members of the Lough Lein Anglers Association. The Killarney club, one of the longest established fishing clubs in Ireland, […]

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It’s always a popular event, and Sunday was no different for the members of the Lough Lein Anglers Association.

The Killarney club, one of the longest established fishing clubs in Ireland, held their 34th annual charity open fly fishing competition known simply as ‘The Charity’.

It’s part of the angling tradition in the club and is always the most popular event on the fly fishing calendar in Ireland.

Spearheaded by Timo O’Sullivan, to date the anglers have raised in excess of €229,000 for deserving charities in Kerry and Cork. The main sponsor of the event is Lee Strand Co-op, Tralee.

This year’s deserving beneficiaries are the Kerry Hospice Foundation and The Saoirse Foundation – BUMBLEance.

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‘What Louise said was bang on’ – Kerry ladies back Ní Mhuircheartaigh in facilities row

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by Adam Moynihan

The Kerry ladies are “100%” behind Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh following her comments about the team’s limited access to Kerry GAA’s Centre of Excellence in Currans.

Ní Mhuircheartaigh caused a stir late last week when she revealed that she and her teammates have not been allowed to train at the state-of-the-art facility, which is owned and operated by the men’s county board.

Kerry’s star forward described the lack of access as “annoying”, especially considering the fact that a large photograph of her adorns the entrance to the facility.

Speaking exclusively to this journalist on The Kerry Football Podcast, Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s teammate Kayleigh Cronin confirmed that the whole team are on the same page on this issue.

“I think what Louise said was bang on and we all 100% agree with it,” Cronin said.

“She was put in a bit of a tough position being asked about it, but what she got off her chest is 100% what the team feels. And I can say with certainty that I can speak on behalf of not only all the girls in the dressing room but the backroom team and management as well in saying that what Louise has said is all of our opinions.

“What’s said is said now. We’ll leave it out there for everyone else to be thinking about and to be talking about. Hopefully the county boards can sort it out between themselves. As far as we’re concerned, that’s us done with it.”

In the wake of Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s comments, Kerry GAA released a statement via Balls.ie:

“Kerry GAA have been in discussions with the Kerry LGFA in relation to their use of the Centre of Excellence facilities in Currans and the future development of one of the two undeveloped pitches in the complex for specific use by the Kerry LGFA and Kerry Camogie

“The Kerry LGFA have been accommodated with training facilities at the Centre of Excellence over the past number of years and this will continue to be the case.

“We look forward to working in close collaboration with Kerry LGFA to bring our collective future development plans to fruition.”

Dr Crokes star Cronin says she and her teammates are “absolutely” keen to see that happen.

“We had the pleasure of being in there prior to COVID. It’s an unbelievable facility. It’s obviously very central as well. So hopefully, fingers crossed, the county boards can work together and get the pitch in good nick, so that not only we can use it but the underage teams as well.

“It would be great to have a base to go from in the future.”

Cronin added that team are now focussing on Saturday’s Munster final against Cork, which takes place before the men’s final at 12.15pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium.

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