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Cronin’s motivation levels at ‘all-time high’ ahead of first home fight in three years

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by Adam Moynihan

“Some good news, thank God. It’s about time, isn’t it?”

You can hear the relief in Kevin Cronin’s voice. It’s a good job he’s a fighter because the Milltown native has really had to scrap through the pandemic. Fights called off. Opponents backing out last-minute. Expensive foreign bouts just to keep the show on the road.

Now, three years on from his first professional fight on Irish soil, the Kingdom Warrior is preparing for his second. On April 2, he will try to improve upon his impressive professional record of 4-0 when he appears on ‘The Beginning’ card in Cork. In a word, Cronin is buzzing.

“I’m excited to get back fighting on Irish soil and also delighted to get an eight-rounder. It will be an Irish title eliminator as well so I’m buzzing for that,” the 25-year-old told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having a home crowd will probably take bit of getting used to. I haven’t even fought in front of a crowd for three years - it has all been behind closed doors. It’s going to be a nice buzz, and it’s even nicer that it’s in Cork rather than Dublin or Belfast or anywhere else. It’s nice and close to home.”

WILL

Going three full years without properly experiencing the thrill of competitive action would test the resolve of any athlete. Cronin accepts that it was a trying time for him, but he never lost the will to carry on.

“It has been tough. Lockdown has everything to do with it. There have been no fights. I’ve had to travel to get fights. It has been costing a fortune. But in terms of motivation, I obviously do have the motivation if I was able to get through what we’ve been put through. Only the tough last through that. There has been a lot of people retiring just because it has been costing too much, and they weren’t getting the fights.

“But for me, the motivation has always been good. I always knew that things would come back to this stage. I got myself eligible for titles during lockdown and here I am, one fight away from fighting 10 rounds for an Irish title. I would be the first to ever do it from this part of the country, and the first to ever win it.

“To be honest with you, seeing that opportunity in front of me, motivation is at an all-time high.”

The Kerryman’s next appearance is made all the more intriguing by the revelation that he will be dropping down a weight division, from light heavyweight to super middleweight. The decision is a tactical one. 

“I wanted to try super middleweight at some stage anyway but there’s a title fight at super middleweight on the card in Cork so I’m chasing down the winner. The winner of that fight will be fighting for the Irish title and I want to be there, standing in front of them.

“I’m going to go down and get myself eligible at 168 pounds, and take the strap off them.”

Cronin’s opponent on April 2 will be revealed in the coming weeks but, having experienced the uncertainty caused by late card changes in the past, he is determined to not let their identity affect his preparations.

“I have to prepare for whatever opponent comes my way. We don’t know who it’s going to be yet and I don’t care really. I’m not asking questions about opponents anymore because I’ve seen the way they pull out.

“The camp kicked off this week so I was sparring last night and I’ll be back up to Dublin for more sparring tomorrow, and then Cork on Saturday for more sparring. So it’s all picking up from here on out. It’s going to be a heavy seven or eight weeks ahead of me.”

Interest in the event is expected to be high. Cronin has already sold his batch of tickets, although he has been assured that more are on the way. The venue is set to be changed from Glen Rovers GAA grounds so that’s another variable to potentially cause a distraction. But the big hitter from Mid Kerry is unbothered. He has waited too long for this moment.

“I have enough on my plate, training for an eight-rounder. It’s going to be the biggest fight of my career. There’s no doubt about it.”

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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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