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Is this the Sem’s greatest ever XV?

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Killarney Advertiser Sports Editor and former St Brendan’s captain Adam Moynihan selects a dream team of some of the best footballers to ever play for the Sem.

 

For at least a hundred years now, St Brendan’s College has been a dominant force in schools football, winning no fewer than 22 Corn Uí Mhuirí titles, four Hogan Cups and providing the Kerry seniors with countless top class footballers along the way.

Whittling it down to the bare 15 is an impossible task - a huge number of fantastic players are mightily unfortunate not to be included – but through discussions with some Sem stars from bygone eras and a thorough examination of the history books, a version of a St Brendan’s dream team was finally produced.

Some players earned their places via their performances in St Brendan’s colours, others for their achievements thereafter. Some were boarders, others day boys. But they all have at least two things in common: they are all Sem boys and they are all supremely talented footballers.

 

 

1. Johnny Culloty

A highly skilled player who won his first All-Ireland for Kerry as a corner forward in 1954, Culloty didn’t make a name for himself as a goalkeeper until many years after he graduated from the Sem. The Legion legend kept goal for The Kingdom from 1959 to 1971, winning four more Celtic crosses in the process.

2. Denny Lyne

The fifth of the famous Lyne brothers of Cleeney, Denny was an unusually stylish full/corner back in an era of tough-tackling defenders. An All-Ireland winner with Kerry in 1946, he also won the County Championship with the Legion that same year before captaining The Kingdom in their momentous clash against Cavan in the Polo Grounds in New York in 1947.

3. John O’Keeffe

It took the Sem 23 years to win their first Hogan Cup and, somewhat ironically, it was a Tralee man who led them to the promised land. Athletic all-rounder John O’Keeffe from the Austin Stacks club was a boarder in St Brendan’s and he captained the school’s senior footballers to victory over St Mary’s of Galway in 1969. He went on to become a mainstay of Kerry’s Golden Years team, claiming no fewer than seven All-Irelands and five All-Stars along with a Footballer of the Year award in 1975.

4. Mike McCarthy

McCarthy is one player who didn’t really excel in Sem colours. In fact, when he was in sixth year, he didn’t make the school’s senior team. Kilcummin’s quiet man would subsequently blossom into one of the most reliable corner backs of his generation and he was a key factor in the All-Ireland wins of 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2009.

5. Jackie Lyne

Younger brother of Denny, Jackie is perhaps the best-known sibling in Legion’s most famous footballing family. A versatile, barrel-chested ball player, he is regarded by many as the finest footballer of his generation and one of Kerry’s all-time greats. Jackie won a Kerry colleges title with the Sem before securing two All-Irelands with Kerry in 1946 and 1953.

6. Séamus Moynihan

Séamo was an influential figure for St Brendan’s as the school bridged a 23-year gap to claim their second Hogan Cup in 1992. A couple of months later, the Glenflesk native was lining out at midfield for Kerry in the Munster Championship and a remarkable intercounty career was born. He won four All-Irelands and three All-Stars over the course of 15 years in the green and gold.

7. Donie O’Sullivan

Much like Mike McCarthy in the corner behind him, Spa man Donie O’Sullivan was not a star in his school days but he came into his own at senior level. He played over 100 games in all competitions for Kerry, operating at corner back, half back and midfield over the course of an impressive 14-year intercounty career. The county’s first All-Star in 1971.

8. Páidí Ó Sé

Ask most people about Páidí Ó Sé’s time in the Sem and they’re sure to bring up his expulsion but focusing on this alone is doing the great An Ghaeltacht clubman a great disservice. Páidí won three O’Sullivan Cups and two Corn Uí Mhuirí’s with St Brendan’s, starring at midfield as the Killarney school reached the All-Ireland final and semi-final in 1972 and 1973 respectively. An eight-time All-Ireland winner with Kerry and a five-time All-Star.

9. Paudie Lynch

Another member of the victorious 1969 team, Paudie Lynch from Beaufort was a superb player who became a trusted servant for Kerry during the Mick O’Dwyer era. Lynch could play multiple positions, lining out at midfield in the 1975 All-Ireland against Dublin before moving into the backs in his later years. An ever-present during The Kindgom’s historic four-in-a-row run from 1978 to 1981.

10. Dara Moynihan

The 21-year-old from Spa still has his whole senior career ahead of him but he gets the nod in this team for the significant part he played in the school’s third and fourth Hogan Cup triumphs. Moynihan was instrumental against St Pat’s of Derry in the 2016 decider as he kicked four points from play and he repeated the trick as captain in 2017 when once again he led his team to glory in Croke Park, this time against St Peter’s of Wexford.

11. Dick Fitzgerald

This Crokes icon was the first superstar of the GAA. After studying in the Sem and later the Presentation Brothers College in Cork, Dickeen won five All-Irelands with Kerry, including the county’s first in 1903 and two as captain in 1913 and 1914. The Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney is named in his honour.

12. Pat Spillane

Another offshoot of the Lyne dynasty, Pat Spillane boarded in St Brendan’s where he won a pair of Munster titles and also reached the Hogan Cup final alongside Páidí Ó Sé in 1972. The incredibly fit and remarkably skilful Templenoe man went on to forge one of the finest intercounty careers the GAA has ever seen, winning no fewer than eight All-Irelands and nine All-Stars, both of which stand as a records to this day.

13. Colm Cooper

It’s amazing to think that one of the greatest talents in the history of the game wasn’t necessarily a superstar in his school days, but that’s how it was for Dr Crokes legend Colm Cooper. A student at the Sem during the lean years and not always a guaranteed starter, Gooch more than made up for it over the course of a glittering career for club and county. One of the best to ever do it.

14. David Clifford

Despite having talented teams in the nineties and noughties, after ’92 the Sem somehow managed to go another 24 years without winning the coveted Hogan Cup. Then Cliffy came along. The Fossa prodigy lit up the schools scene in 2016 and he grabbed national attention for the very first time by scoring 2-5 in the final against St Pat’s. Now the captain of the Kerry senior footballers, the 21-year-old already has two All-Stars to his name.

15. Tadhgie Lyne

Nicknamed the Prince of Forwards, Tadhgie Lyne (no relation to the Lynes of Cleeney) is remembered as one of the most stylish footballers to ever come out of Killarney. He helped the Sem to two Munster titles in 1946 and 1947 and although he never made the Kerry minors, the Crokes man went on to win three All-Irelands, a Footballer of the Year award and was Man of the Match in the 1953 final when he kicked six points from wing forward against Armagh.

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‘Golf is open to everyone’ – Doherty enjoying success on disabled golf tour

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by Adam Moynihan

Former mayor of Killarney Tom Doherty says awareness around disabilities is “springing forward” as sporting bodies, businesses and communities strive to become more inclusive.

Doherty, who suffered a spinal injury when he was 15 and now walks with the assistance of a cane, is witnessing this trend first-hand as a member of Ireland’s flourishing disabled golf scene.

The Killarney native recently took part in the Disabled and Inclusive Golf Association of Ireland outing at Slieve Russell Golf Club in Cavan before flying out to England for a European Disability Golf Association tour event at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club. Doherty claimed first place in the stableford category at the Royal Leamington venue.

He is now looking forward to the inaugural Irish Open for golfers with a disability, which will take place in Roganstown Country Club in Dublin at the beginning of July.

“Golf Ireland are doing a lot of work behind the scenes for inclusivity, which is great,” Doherty told the Killarney Advertiser. “They’re putting a lot of time into it.

“Clubs are opening up and people are getting more educated about disabilities and access. If you can help someone to overcome whatever barriers they have, golf is open to everyone.”

Golfers with visual impairment, cerebral palsy, spinal injuries and those who are amputees all compete on the Irish circuit.

“There’s specialised equipment out there,” Doherty explains. “A person who is a full-time wheelchair user can get a specially designed ‘Paragolfer’ machine that is fully adaptable, and that can carry them around specifically on a golf course. It will raise the golfer, according to the level of their disability, to take their shot, and away they go.

“There are special rules for golfers with certain disabilities – for example if a bunker is a certain size and their buggy is too big for it, they’ll get a drop. Still under penalty. A bad shot is still a bad shot!”

The former town councillor, who now works with the HSE, has been a disabilities advocate for many years and he has noticed a major cultural shift in recent times in particular.

“It’s great to see awareness and opportunities and education really springing forward now. It’s very exciting.

“It has been happening for a number of years but now it’s really blossoming.”

Visibility is a big part of this, Doherty insists, and local Paralympian Jordan Lee from the Killarney Valley club has been an important figure in this regard.

“I was actually competing the same day Jordan did his first official high jump (Doherty has represented Ireland in the discus, javelin and shot putt – he has also played basketball with the Kingdom Wheel Blasters and the Limerick Celtics).

“Jordan has turned into a big hero for kids, and a big brand name and an ambassador. At the end of the day, 17% of people have a disability. It’s a specific market but it’s a lot of people, and I think brands and industry are realising this more and more. And a lot of larger companies are becoming more connected to the community, which is a great thing.

“The kids look up to Jordan and, when it comes down to it, he’s another Irish athlete who gives it his all.

“Take the ‘dis’ out of ‘disability’ and you have ‘ability’. At first, young people might look at Jordan and say, ‘look, daddy, he’s got one arm’. But then eventually they go, ‘that’s Jordan the athlete, look how high he can jump’.

“Visibility is a huge thing. That’s the name of the game.”

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Lough Lein anglers enjoy annual charity day 

It’s always a popular event, and Sunday was no different for the members of the Lough Lein Anglers Association. The Killarney club, one of the longest established fishing clubs in Ireland, […]

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It’s always a popular event, and Sunday was no different for the members of the Lough Lein Anglers Association.

The Killarney club, one of the longest established fishing clubs in Ireland, held their 34th annual charity open fly fishing competition known simply as ‘The Charity’.

It’s part of the angling tradition in the club and is always the most popular event on the fly fishing calendar in Ireland.

Spearheaded by Timo O’Sullivan, to date the anglers have raised in excess of €229,000 for deserving charities in Kerry and Cork. The main sponsor of the event is Lee Strand Co-op, Tralee.

This year’s deserving beneficiaries are the Kerry Hospice Foundation and The Saoirse Foundation – BUMBLEance.

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