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Frontrunners battle for position in Kerry Senior Football Championship

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The new format has given us more games but so far the 2022 Kerry Senior Football Championship has offered little in terms of surprises. Seven teams have already secured safe passage through to the last eight with one round of group games still to play, and seven teams are already out.

The only pool still up in the air to any significant degree is Group 4 where South Kerry could pip Templenoe for the second qualifying spot if they beat St Brendan’s and first place Feale Rangers beat Templenoe. Rangers don’t technically need to win that fixture in Templenoe as they are guaranteed their place in the next round following two impressive wins.

Elsewhere, Groups 1, 2 and 3 have effectively been decided. Having emerged victorious in both of their games to date, Dr Crokes and Kenmare Shamrocks (Group 1), East Kerry and Dingle (Group 2), and Austin Stacks and Mid Kerry (Group 3) will contest the quarter-finals irrespective of their results in Round 3.

The only thing that’s really on the line is the No. 1 seed in each group and this factor could actually turn out to be rather important. The top team in each pool will play a runner-up from another group in the knockout phase, so nabbing the first seed could mean avoiding one of the big teams – East Kerry, for example – in the last eight.

Of course, if you’re going to win the competition you’ll probably have to beat East Kerry (or the team that beats them) at some point but it is, perhaps, wise find the less difficult route to the final if at all possible.

There could well be fireworks at the Group 1 decider between Dr Crokes and Kenmare Shamrocks at Fr Breen Park. The sides have had serious battles in recent seasons, perhaps most notably in the 2021 Club Championship when 15 points from the boot of Seánie Shea consigned Crokes to the relegation playoff. That game ended in controversial fashion as Crokes felt aggrieved with the award of the match-winning free.

The Killarney club managed to stay up in the end but they will no doubt be keen to bite back. Another positive result for Kenmare in this fixture will firmly establish them as Crokes’ bogey team.

East Kerry are still very much the frontrunners but they will be tested by fellow group leaders Dingle back in Páirc an Ághasaigh. David Clifford made a cameo against Spa last weekend; could East Kerry manager Jerry O’Sullivan hand the Kerry star his first start of the championship on Sunday?

Meanwhile, reigning champions Austin Stacks travel to Beaufort to take on 2020 runners-up Mid Kerry. Sadly for the Tralee outfit their bad luck with injuries continues to haunt them. After losing Joe O’Connor the week before, there are now concerns over Brendan O’Sullivan who was forced off early on in their victory over West Kerry.

Fixtures

Saturday
5.30pm - Kenmare Shamrocks v Dr Crokes (Fr Breen Park)
5.30pm - Spa v Kerins O’Rahillys (Tullig)
5.30pm - West Kerry v Na Gaeil (Gallarus)

Sunday
2.30pm - Shannon Rangers v St Kieran’s (Ballylongford)
2.30pm - Dingle v East Kerry (Páirc an Ághasaigh)
2.30pm - Mid Kerry v Austin Stacks (Beaufort)
2.30pm - Templenoe v Feale Rangers (Templenoe)
2.30pm - South Kerry v St Brendan’s (Cahersiveen)

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Opponent gets 10-match ban for using discriminatory language towards Kerry player

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A rival player has been suspended for using discriminatory language in a match against Kerry FC, the League of Ireland has confirmed.

The FAI’s Independent Disciplinary Committee handed Harry Curtis of UCD a 10-match ban for the offence, which took place during the game between the two sides in Mounthawk Park, Tralee last week.

Curtis was sent off in injury time. UCD won the game 2-1.

“An Independent Disciplinary Committee of the FAI has sanctioned UCD AFC player Harry Curtis for using discriminatory language towards a Kerry FC player in the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division fixture on 10 May 2024,” a League of Ireland statement read.

“The FAI and League of Ireland maintains a strict zero tolerance approach towards any act of discrimination and are committed to ensuring that League of Ireland matches remain a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.

“In accordance with FIFA Regulations and the FAI Disciplinary Regulations, Harry Curits will serve a 10-match suspension. Please note the decision of the Independent Disciplinary Committee may be appealed.”

Kerry FC issued the following statement welcoming the ban: “We condemn discrimination in football and are constantly working to kick it out of the game.

“Mounthawk Park and Kerry FC is a community where everyone is welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, and other diverse backgrounds.

“We would like to thank the Independent Disciplinary Committee in the FAI for their continued efforts and dedication to keeping discrimination out of the game.”

Last week Dundalk goalkeeper George Shelvey was also suspended for 10 games for abusing referee Rob Harvey.

Kerry FC were also involved in two alleged cases of racial abuse last season. In September, they claimed a Longford Town player aimed a “racial remark” at one of their players. The matter was referred to An Garda Síochána.

Earlier in the 2023 season, Kerry released a statement condemning racist online comments that had been made about the black players in their squad.

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TEAM NEWS: Kerry and Monaghan name starting 15s for Killarney showdown

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All-Ireland SFC Group 4

Kerry v Monaghan

Saturday 3pm

Fitzgerald Stadium

Live on GAAGO

Jack O’Connor has rewarded Munster final Man of the Match Tony Brosnan with a spot in Kerry’s starting 15 for Saturday’s All-Ireland group phase opener against Monaghan.

Brosnan kicked three points from play a fortnight ago and he retains his place in a forward division that also includes Dara Moynihan, Paudie Clifford, Seánie O’Shea, David Clifford and the recalled Paul Geaney.

Dingle veteran Geaney starts in place of youngster Cillian Burke, who drops to the bench.

Shane Ryan returns in goal instead of Shane Murphy while the back six and midfield remain unchanged from the seven-point victory in Ennis.

Graham O’Sullivan is a notable absentee from the matchday 26. The Dromid defender’s groin injury was described by O’Connor as “minor” after the Clare game, which O’Sullivan also missed.

Monaghan manager Vinny Corey has also named his side for tomorrow’s Sam Maguire encounter at the Fitzgerald Stadium and he has made five changes from the Farney Army’s last outing (the Ulster preliminary round defeat to Cavan on April 7).

Four of those switches come in attack as Stephen O’Hanlon, Micheál Bannigan, Michael Hammill and Seán Jones replace Garland, Irwin, Loughran and McCarron.

Experienced midfielder Darren Hughes, who was forced off with a knee injury in that match in Clones six weeks ago, is unavailable and is replaced by Micheál McCarville.

Rory Beggan starts in goal after a potential move to the Carolina Panthers in the NFL did not materialise. Talismanic forward Conor McManus will wear the number 15 jersey.

The last time these teams met was in the league at St Tiernach’s Park in February. Kerry prevailed on a scoreline of 3-15 to 1-12.

Tickets for Kerry v Monaghan can be purchased here for €25. Three-match bundles for the entire group stage are also available for €50.

The match will not be televised but it will be streamed on GAAGO.

KERRY TEAM

1. Shane Ryan

2. Paul Murphy

3. Jason Foley

4. Tom O’Sullivan

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich

6. Tadhg Morley

7. Gavin White

8. Diarmuid O’Connor

9. Joe O’Connor

10. Tony Brosnan

11. Paudie Clifford

12. Dara Moynihan

13. David Clifford

14. Seánie O’Shea

15. Paul Geaney

Subs: Shane Murphy, Cillian Burke, Seán O’Brien, Adrian Spillane, Barry Dan O’Sullivan, Dylan Casey, Stephen O’Brien, Mike Breen, Killian Spillane, Darragh Roche, Armin Heinrich.

MONAGHAN TEAM

1. Rory Beggan

2. Ryan Wylie

3. Kieran Duffy

4. Ryan O’Toole

5. Karl O’Connell

6. Killian Lavelle

7. Conor McCarthy

8. Gary Mohan

9. Micheál McCarville

10. Stephen O’Hanlon

11. Micheál Bannigan

12. Michael Hamill

13. Ciarán McNulty

14. Seán Jones

15. Conor McManus

Subs: Darren McDonnell, Jack McCarron, Stephen Mooney, Dessie Ward, Ryan McAnespie, David Garland, Jason Irwin, Andrew Woods, Barry McBennett, Joel Wilson, Thomas McPhillips.

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