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Dramatic Athletic victory tees up all-Killarney KDL final

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For the third time in five years, Killarney clubs Celtic and Athletic will feature in the KDL Premier A League Final. The big match will take place in Mounthawk Park, Tralee on Sunday at 2pm.

Athletic secured their spot in the crunch decider on Wednesday night when they defeated fellow top-two contenders Castleisland by two goals to one. The Blues needed all three points to overtake an Island side who only required a draw.

Things were looking bleak for Stuart Templeman’s team when Castleisland took a first-half lead at Mounthawk Park through Tommy Feehan, but Athletic showed great resilience to battle their way back into contention. The 2017 champions equalised before half-time when Tadhg Doolan converted a Kian McCann cross.

The second half was a tense affair with Athletic on the front foot in search of that elusive goal that would send them through to the final. They finally broke the deadlock with 10 minutes to go when youngster Roko Rujevcan found the back of the net, and that strike was enough to seal the deal.

Celtic, who finished the season with a perfect record of 14 wins from 14 matches, will naturally go into the final as strong favourites. Athletic will take great heart from Wednesday’s win, however, and with the likes of Shane Doolan, Eoin Moynihan, Donal Kelliher and Brendan Moloney in their ranks, they have the steel and skill to push their crosstown rivals all the way.

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Rising cycling star selected for Belgium Project

By Sean Moriarty Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders with ambitions to turn professional.

Northern Ireland-based Belgian Danny Blondell is the man behind the project.

For the last 15 years Blondell selects between four and six Irish riders and sends them to Belgium where they stay with local families and contest pro and semi-pro races.

As a race commentator Blondell is well placed to decide who is deserving of inclusion in the project.

Over the first six months of the year he makes decisions while attending early season races.

Those lucky enough to get selected go to live and race in Belgium for the second six months of the year.

Bolger, from Lewis Road, was selected after winning the junior race in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in Mayo in March and the Orwell Stage Race in County Wicklow in June.

“He is delighted, it is a very big deal,” his father Paul told the Killarney Advertiser.

“He has had a very good year and the wins in Mayo and Wicklow secured the Belgium Project.”

Bolger will head to Belgium in late July and after to the Junior Tour of Ireland which takes place in County Clare between July 12 and 17.

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The flying Kerryman who never forgot where he came from

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by Eamonn Fitzgerald

Tom O’Riordan RIP

Tommo (as he was affectionately known) died last week at the grand age of 84. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s for a number of years but the Ardfert native was as resilient in the face of his illness as he was when he was running.

He succeeded on many occasions in track and cross country races in Ireland and far afield, and he dealt with that health hurdle with typical stoicism, accepting the irony of his doctor’s prognosis: Parkinson’s won’t kill you but you will die from it.

I first met him in Belfield in the early seventies. While we were training hard with UCD football team he was on a training spin on the same campus.

His competitive career was over having represented Ireland in the 1964 Olympics. He didn’t make the final and he always said in later life that he was disappointed he didn’t make it because he knew he was good enough.

After those Olympics he was appointed as athletics reporter for the Independent. He also covered a lot of football matches and that’s where I got to know him. He was highly respected by players and managers. They trusted him, knowing that he wouldn’t betray confidentiality and publish half-truths or training session secrets. In particular, Mick O’Dwyer gave him carte blanche to the Kerry training sessions. He became a great friend of Páid Ó Sė, who was a regular visitor to his home in Dublin. I have no doubt that he convinced Páidí to use some of those merciless runs up hills to build stamina. Ask the Westmeath men! Tom used these quite a lot in his training for cross-country races.

Heffo didn’t give him the same open-door policy as O’Dwyer did. At Parnell Park, the Dub’s boss operated a closed-doors system for the Dublin training sessions.

Tommo first hit the headlines as a student in his native Kerry and then secured an athletic scholarship to  Idaho University. He impressed, winning races in the majority of the US states.

He was a winner in Ireland on track and cross country, breaking at least 14 Irish records.             

He was very influential as manager of the Irish  cross country team in Limerick preparing John Treacy for victory. They became great personal friends and Treacy often stayed with O’Riordan.

He was a fine journalist and stories abound of him running and double jobbing by covering the particular race for the Indo. More often than not he was writing about a race where he was the winner but he was anything but a self publicist.

He had deadlines to meet so he would create the report and then seek out the nearest telephone to file his report while still wearing his running gear. His son Ian O’Riordan is also a very fine reporter of athletics for the Irish Times.

May Tommo rest in peace.

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