Killarney pitch and putt legend Damien Fleming added another All-Ireland title to his impressive honours list over the long weekend when he won the National Matchplay Championship at the Ryston Club in Newbridge, County Kildare.
The Deerpark star has now won the prestigious title three times with two of those triumphs coming in the last three years. Fleming has also claimed the Irish Open on three occasions, as well as the National Senior Strokeplay Championship in 2018.
The Killarney man’s most recent victory was made all the more noteworthy by the fact that he overcame Cork’s Ray Murphy – a player whom Fleming describes as the GOAT – in the final.
“It’s always nice to win them,” Fleming told the Killarney Advertiser. “To be honest, I don’t tend to dwell on them too much, but they are all special in their own way. Beating the greatest player of all time in the final makes it even more special from that point of view.”
After surviving a major scare against Nenagh’s Steven Shoer in the first round (1up), Fleming defeated James Foley Jr of Enniscorthy (2&1), James Cleary of Cashel (4&3), Peter O’Donovan of Bishopstown (2&1), and Ian Dillon of Kildare (2&1) to secure his place in Monday’s final. By then, after a sluggish start to the weekend, he was firing on all cylinders.
“I went a bit stale against Shoer in the first round and missed a couple of easy putts. I played myself into trouble. Fortunately enough I birdied the last three holes and got myself out of it. In reality, I probably should have been beaten. But I lived to tell the tale.
“I didn’t play great on Sunday morning against James Foley Jr but I always felt I was in control of the match. I was playing a formidable opponent from Tipperary in the next round, James Cleary, and I knew I’d have to play better if I wanted to stay in the competition.
“And then, to be honest with you, from that match on it was like I went into a different gear. I was consistently shooting double figures every round and I didn’t really feel as though I was in trouble in any game.”
The final hurdle against six-time champion Murphy promised to be Fleming’s most difficult task, and the match-up was made even more intriguing by the fact that the pair are close friends off the course.
“I know him well and we had played a few times in matchplay. Fortunately enough, he hadn’t beaten me, so I wanted to make sure that record stood! But his record speaks for itself. That was his 10th time playing in the matchplay final and he has reached 14 semi-finals, so there was no doubt that it was going to be a tough one.
“But I got off to a flyer and was -13 for the first round. I was comfortable enough from that point on really.”
Fleming is now looking forward to the National Senior Strokeplay Championship in September, a competition he has already secured qualification for on the back of his fourth-place finish at the same event last year.
Séamus Moynihan tops Kerry manager poll ahead of Jack O’Connor and Peter Keane
by Adam Moynihan
Although it now appears as though he could be a selector on the Stephen Stack ticket, four-time All-Ireland winner Séamus Moynihan has topped our ‘Next Kerry Manager’ poll by collecting over one-third of the overall vote.
Around 37% of respondents said that Moynihan should be the next Kerry boss with 23% of fans backing former manager Jack O’Connor. The team’s most recent bainisteoir, Peter Keane, received 18% of the votes.
Another former manager, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, is next in line on 10%, although it is believed that he is not willing to return to the fold due to work commitments.
In addition to the four main candidates mentioned above, readers were also invited to nominate their own preferred candidate. This open field threw up 16 more names with former Kerry and Dr Crokes manager Pat O’Shea the most popular entry. The Killarney man received around 3.5% of the vote.
Donie Buckley got roughly half as many votes as O’Shea, and the other prospective managers ended up with less than 1% each.
Glenflesk native Moynihan enjoyed a glittering playing career for The Kingdom between 1992 and 2006, the highlight perhaps coming in the year 2000 when he captained his county to All-Ireland glory. He has since taken on coaching roles with his own club and with Fossa and was part of Darragh Ó Sé’s Kerry U21 management team in 2015.
It had been suggested that Monaghan’s defensive coach Donie Buckley would be part of the Moynihan ticket. Buckley was also a member of Peter Keane’s backroom team, but Keane relieved him of his duties in the early stages of the 2020 season.
However, after this survey was completed, Tony Leen of the Irish Examiner reported that Moynihan and Buckley are, indeed, part of the same ticket, but the manager’s name attached is that of current Killarney Legion boss Stephen Stack.
Stack himself had a long and distinguished playing career with The Kingdom and as a manager led Austin Stacks to the County Championship in 2014 and Legion to an East Kerry Championship in 2019.
The Listowel native is also rumoured to be calling on Dara Ó Cinnéide and Mickey Ned O’Sullivan as selectors, with Joe O’Connor filling the role of strength and conditioning coach.
Stack was not considered to be a realistic candidate at the time of the survey; he was one of the 14 managers who received less than 1% of the vote.
KERRY SUPPORTERS SURVEY
Q: Who should be the next manager of the Kerry senior football team?
Séamus Moynihan 36.7%
Jack O’Connor 23.4%
Peter Keane 18.1%
Eamonn Fitzmaurice 10%
Pat O’Shea 3.5%
Donie Buckley 1.6%
(Carried out online on September 21/22. 431 respondents.)
*Mike Quirke, John Sugrue, Jim McGuinness, Jim Gavin, Jerry O’Sullivan, Maurice Fitzgerald, Tomás Ó Sé, Johnny Crowley, Stephen Stack, Kieran Donaghy, John Evans, Paul Galvin, Marc Ó Sé, Liam Kearns.
Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s
By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]
By Sean Moriarty
Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.
Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.
The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.
Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.
His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.
“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.
Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.
The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.
“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.
The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.
The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.
“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.
The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.
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