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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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Paudie Clifford returns and scores wondergoal as Kerry dismantle Monaghan

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Adam Moynihan reports from the Fitzgerald Stadium

National League Division 1

Kerry 3-16 Monaghan 0-14

HT: Kerry 0-10 Monaghan 0-6

A spectacular second-half goal by surprise inclusion Paudie Clifford helped Kerry to an impressive 11-point over Monaghan in Killarney this afternoon.

The All-Star forward wasn’t named on the initial panel of 27 but when his name was called out as No. 26 before the game, a loud cheer rang out around the O’Sullivan Stand. Kerry fans had to wait until the 46th minute to see the Fossa captain make his first appearance of the season but it didn’t take him long to make his mark.

After soloing all of 80 metres, the elder Clifford dispatched a perfect finish beyond the reach of Rory Beggan to send Kerry nine points clear with 51 minutes on the clock.

In truth the game was drifting away from Monaghan before Clifford’s cameo but his sensational contribution made absolutely certain.

With two points on the board and David Clifford and Seánie O’Shea waiting in the wings ahead of Mayo away in two weeks’ time, Kerry manager Jack O’Connor will be a happy man leaving Killarney this evening.

GIFTED

Monaghan stayed in touch with Kerry for the first quarter, thanks in the main to a string of needless fouls that gifted the away team some easy scores.

Conor McCarthy broke the deadlock with one such free in the 6th minute and Tony Brosnan got Kerry off the mark two minutes later with a placed ball of his own.

The reliable Dessie Ward and Kerry’s bustling full forward Darragh Roche exchanged scores before Micheál Bannigan tapped over a free to re-establish the Farney’s early lead.

Kerry then went on a mini-run, instigated by a neat team move that saw Tony Brosnan and Micheál Burns combine to tee up the excellent Tom O’Sullivan for a close-in score.

Good work by Barry Dan O’Sullivan from a hop ball led to another Brosnan free, and then a high, skyscraper of a point from the stand side into the scoreboard end by Donal Down O’Sullivan gave the hosts a two-point lead.

However, two more avoidable fouls handed Monaghan’s free-takers McCarthy and Bannigan a point apiece and midway through the first half, the scores were level at 0-5 each.

The Kingdom finally began to inject some pace into proceedings in the second quarter with Dara Moynihan and Micheál Burns especially active. The All-Ireland champions scored five of the next six points with Roche, Brosnan (free), Moynihan, Donal Down O’Sullivan and Burns all hitting the target.

A tasty individual effort by Monaghan’s best forward, Conor McCarthy, left the scores at 0-10 to 0-6 at the break.

UNDONE

Monaghan’s good work in the first half was rather quickly undone in the second as Kerry exerted their dominance in all sectors. By the time Darragh Roche evaded Beggan and goaled in the 39th minute, the home side led by eight (1-12 to 0-7) and the result already appeared to be beyond question.

In fairness to Vinney Corey’s charges, they rattled off three unanswered points over the next 10 minutes – and they would have scored a goal but for a great save by Shane Murphy – but then Clifford’s introduction set the tone for the remainder.

Adrian Spillane’s goalbound effort was tipped over in the 49th minute (Spillane was the last of Kerry’s six forwards to score) and then Clifford gathered the ball inside his own 65, sprinted straight for goal, and finished emphatically to make it 2-13 to 0-10.

Things got worse for Monaghan four minutes later when Ryan O’Toole saw red for a high tackle on Stefan Okunbor. In the next attack, Tom O’Sullivan sauntered forward to drive a trademark outside-of-the-boot shot between the uprights and Kerry led by double scores (2-14 to 0-10).

Stephen O’Hanlon was one of Monaghan’s shining lights and he scored two of his three points in the final quarter, but they counted for little when all was said and done.

TG4’s Man of the Match Donal Down O’Sullivan capped a fine full debut with a nice goal in stoppage time as Kerry picked up their first league win of the season.

KERRY: S Murphy; G O’Sullivan, J Foley, T O’Sullivan (0-2); P Warren, T Morley, P Murphy; J Barry, BD O’Sullivan; M Burns (0-1), D Moynihan (0-1), A Spillane (0-1); T Brosnan (0-4f), D Roche (1-2), D O’Sullivan (1-3).

Subs: P Clifford (1-1) for Moynihan; S Okunbor for BD O’Sullivan; K Spillane (0-1m) for Roche, G Horan for Warren; R Murphy for A Spillane.

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; T McPhillips, K Duffy (0-1), R Wylie; C Boyle, D Ward (0-1), K Loughran; K  Lavelle, C Lennon; S O’Hanlon (0-3), M Bannigan (0-3, 2f), J Wilson; C McCarthy (0-5, 4f), K Gallagher (0-1), S Carey.

Subs: D Treanor for Lennon; G Mohan for Wilson; T McPhillips for Lavelle; S Jones for Carey; S Slevin for Wylie.

Attendance: 10,232

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St Paul’s ladies’ contribution to club honoured

By Sean Moriarty St Paul’s Basketball club recognised the contribution of its ladies’ players during their National Basketball League home game on Saturday night. Since the start of the season, […]

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0249820_Ladies_Basketball_3.jpg

By Sean Moriarty

St Paul’s Basketball club recognised the contribution of its ladies’ players during their National Basketball League home game on Saturday night.

Since the start of the season, coach James Fleming has named his Most Valuable Player (MVP) after each home game.

The club presented each MVP award winner with a special trophy at halftime during the club’s tie with Dublin side Swords Thunder at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday.

Lynn Jones, who is one of the sport’s longest servants in Kerry, picked up her award from the Limerick Celtics game earlier in the season.

Rheanne O’Shea won the MPV during the Portlaoise Panthers match.

Yuleska Ramirez Tedja was the MPV against UL Sport Huskies last year.

Deise Dunlea was the most recent nomination for an MPV award and she also received her award on Saturday night.

The team also honoured their Irish International player Leah McMahon and presented Leah’s mother Anne with flowers as a thank-you for her support to the club.

“The dedication of these ladies is unbelievable, we have eight games in a row coming up, five at home and one each in Belfast, Cavan and Dublin and they are all working or studying,” manager Siobhan Bennett told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Coach James Fleming wanted to show his appreciation for this dedication.”

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