by Adam Moynihan
After a disappointing run in this year’s Club Championship, Dr Crokes’ senior status appeared to be in real jeopardy. Finishing last in their group teed up a tantalising relegation playoff against the bottom team from the other group, the Killarney Legion.
Excitement amongst GAA fans was high. Demotion would be a unthinkable for either club, particularly so for the Crokes who are the most successful senior outfit in the county. It promised to be one of the most important club matches ever played in Killarney.
There was one major caveat, however: if either Legion or Crokes reached the final of the County Championship, they would be exempt from relegation.
Legion failed to achieve that particular feat but Crokes now find themselves on the cusp. Victory over Kerins O’Rahillys in Sunday’s Kerry SFC semi-final will not only secure their spot in the county final, it will also guarantee their senior status for 2022 and relegate their fiercest rivals for good measure. Forget about killing two birds with one stone, Crokes are hoping to take out three of them.
Of course, considering everything at stake, missing with that one stone would be a major disappointment. It would also hand Legion a lifeline and while neither side wants to be participating in this do-or-die match, the Derreen club need it. Dropping down to intermediate without getting the opportunity to play for their senior status would be a sad way to go.
If Crokes were to lose this week, the playoff is likely to be staged either the following weekend or the weekend after that, presumably at the Fitzgerald Stadium.
But for now the focus is on Sunday’s semi-final, and it promises to be a cracker.
There has been some talk locally of this Crokes team being in transition but a quick glance at their teamsheet suggests otherwise. Eleven players who started in the club’s last county final victory in 2018 also started a fortnight ago against Templenoe: Shane Murphy, John Payne, Fionn Fitzgerald, Gavin White, Johnny Buckley, Gavin O’Shea, Micheál Burns, Brian Looney, Kieran O’Leary, David Shaw and Tony Brosnan. Two more, Daithí Casey and Mike Moloney, came off the bench. Young players have been blooded this season, most notably the impressive Mark Cooper and Evan Looney, but it hardly represents a radical overhaul.
They are coming in slightly under the radar because of their poor championship record (by their own high standards) in 2019 and 2020, and that naturally suits them just fine.
As for Rahillys, their path to the last four has been tougher than most. Many expected them to struggle against St Kieran’s in Round 1, and many more tipped Dingle to be too strong for them in the quarters, but the club from Strand Road are still standing.
With David Moran pulling the strings from midfield and an in-form forward division that includes Jack Savage, Barry John Keane, Gavin O’Brien, the rejuvenated Tommy Walsh and the precocious Conor Hayes, the Tralee side are looking dangerous.
They will be slight underdogs against Crokes this weekend but it wouldn’t be a complete shock if their recent momentum carries them over the line. The Legion supporters who make the journey to Tralee on Sunday will be with them every step of the way.
Dr Crokes v Kerins O'Rahillys (Sunday at 2.30pm, Austin Stack Park).
Follow @AdamMoynihan on Twitter for updates.
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 […]
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.
Live referee mics should be the norm – swearing concerns be damned
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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