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CONFIRMED: Crokes and Legion set for Fitzgerald Stadium showdown

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by Adam Moynihan

December is almost upon us and there has been a noticeable turn in the weather this past week. The nights are icy cold. In the morning the town is coated with a thick layer of white frost.

Yes, there is a very definite chill in the air around the streets and laneways of Killarney - but not all of it is meteorological.

Dr Crokes’ championship exit at the hands of Kerins O’Rahillys has edged them one step closer to the unthinkable. Their failure to reach the county final means that the monumental relegation showdown with bitter rivals Legion will now go ahead, with the date set for the first Sunday of winter (December 5 at noon).

In a town that is utterly obsessed with its football and its famous football clubs, defeat will spell disaster.

For one tribe, this battle could signal the beginning of winter in more ways than one.

FEROCIOUS

The team from Lewis Road could have avoided this playoff had they managed to defeat Rahillys in Sunday’s county semi-final; exemption from relegation is assured to any side who reach the final of the Kerry Senior Football Championship. Leading by six points early in the second half, it looked like they were on their way, but a ferocious fightback by their Tralee opponents turned the tie on its head.

Strand Road came out swinging in that second period and they delivered the knockout blow – quite literally in the case of Crokes keeper Shane Murphy, who was knocked unconscious in a nasty-looking collision in the 47th minute. Somehow the Rahillys player escaped with just a yellow, but more telling for Edmund O’Sullivan’s side was Murphy’s absence for the remainder of the game.

Momentum shifted in their opponents’ favour thereafter and with David Moran bursting into life around the middle and the triumvirate of Keane, Savage and Hayes doing the damage inside, Rahillys secured a narrow one-point victory.

Murphy's availability for the playoff is now one of the biggest talking points ahead of next week's showdown in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The nature of the injury, and the fact that the player has suffered from concussion in the past, has naturally led to questions around whether or not he will be cleared in time to play.

Sunday’s loss was harrowing for Crokes but there were positives too, perhaps most notably the performance of the evergreen Johnny Buckley who dominated the majority of the midfield exchanges. In fact, there was plenty to like about the Killarney side’s first half display with most of their players winning their individual contests.

The manner of the defeat will sting but there's no denying that on their day the Crokes are still a very formidable force.

LEGION’S LAYOFF

Legion are understandably relieved that Crokes missed out on the final, but by the time the playoff comes around they will have been out of action for four weeks, which is hardly ideal. Their form this season has been disappointing by their own standards so they are likely to enter this encounter as underdogs.

That being said, they were underdogs for the 2019 O’Donoghue Cup (East Kerry Championship) final and they gave their old foes a sound beating that day.

Dr Crokes were victorious in the last meeting between the sides: last year's O'Donoghue Cup quarter-final in Derreen, which the visitors won by three points.

The relegation playoff promises to be an intriguing fixture but for now Crokes’ attention turns to the East Kerry Championship. Their semi-final against Rathmore will take place in Kilcummin on Sunday at 2pm.

In the other semi, Spa face Glenflesk on Saturday at 2pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium.

Meanwhile, the county final between Kerins O'Rahillys and Austin Stacks has been fixed for the same day as the playoff (Sunday, December 5) at 3pm. The match will be played in Austin Stack Park in Tralee.

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‘Golf is open to everyone’ – Doherty enjoying success on disabled golf tour

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by Adam Moynihan

Former mayor of Killarney Tom Doherty says awareness around disabilities is “springing forward” as sporting bodies, businesses and communities strive to become more inclusive.

Doherty, who suffered a spinal injury when he was 15 and now walks with the assistance of a cane, is witnessing this trend first-hand as a member of Ireland’s flourishing disabled golf scene.

The Killarney native recently took part in the Disabled and Inclusive Golf Association of Ireland outing at Slieve Russell Golf Club in Cavan before flying out to England for a European Disability Golf Association tour event at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club. Doherty claimed first place in the stableford category at the Royal Leamington venue.

He is now looking forward to the inaugural Irish Open for golfers with a disability, which will take place in Roganstown Country Club in Dublin at the beginning of July.

“Golf Ireland are doing a lot of work behind the scenes for inclusivity, which is great,” Doherty told the Killarney Advertiser. “They’re putting a lot of time into it.

“Clubs are opening up and people are getting more educated about disabilities and access. If you can help someone to overcome whatever barriers they have, golf is open to everyone.”

Golfers with visual impairment, cerebral palsy, spinal injuries and those who are amputees all compete on the Irish circuit.

“There’s specialised equipment out there,” Doherty explains. “A person who is a full-time wheelchair user can get a specially designed ‘Paragolfer’ machine that is fully adaptable, and that can carry them around specifically on a golf course. It will raise the golfer, according to the level of their disability, to take their shot, and away they go.

“There are special rules for golfers with certain disabilities – for example if a bunker is a certain size and their buggy is too big for it, they’ll get a drop. Still under penalty. A bad shot is still a bad shot!”

The former town councillor, who now works with the HSE, has been a disabilities advocate for many years and he has noticed a major cultural shift in recent times in particular.

“It’s great to see awareness and opportunities and education really springing forward now. It’s very exciting.

“It has been happening for a number of years but now it’s really blossoming.”

Visibility is a big part of this, Doherty insists, and local Paralympian Jordan Lee from the Killarney Valley club has been an important figure in this regard.

“I was actually competing the same day Jordan did his first official high jump (Doherty has represented Ireland in the discus, javelin and shot putt – he has also played basketball with the Kingdom Wheel Blasters and the Limerick Celtics).

“Jordan has turned into a big hero for kids, and a big brand name and an ambassador. At the end of the day, 17% of people have a disability. It’s a specific market but it’s a lot of people, and I think brands and industry are realising this more and more. And a lot of larger companies are becoming more connected to the community, which is a great thing.

“The kids look up to Jordan and, when it comes down to it, he’s another Irish athlete who gives it his all.

“Take the ‘dis’ out of ‘disability’ and you have ‘ability’. At first, young people might look at Jordan and say, ‘look, daddy, he’s got one arm’. But then eventually they go, ‘that’s Jordan the athlete, look how high he can jump’.

“Visibility is a huge thing. That’s the name of the game.”

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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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