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James O’Donoghue retires from intercounty football

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James O'Donoghue during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final. PICTURE: BRENDAN MORAN/SPORTSFILE

by Adam Moynihan

Former Player of the Year and two-time All-Star James O’Donoghue has announced his retirement from intercounty football.

The Killarney Legion forward stepped away from Peter Keane’s panel in 2021 to focus on club football, leading to speculation surrounding his future in the green and gold.

O’Donoghue has not featured under new manager Jack O’Connor and today, speaking to Off The Ball, he confirmed that he had actually privately retired last year.

“It’s all over, it’s all over bar the shouting," the 31-year-old said.

"Last year, I was fighting an uphill battle. Realistically, I stepped away from the panel just before the going got very serious because I wasn’t really contributing. I told them at that stage that I was retiring but because Kerry were going too well, we decided not to put out a statement and throw all the good vibes out of the camp. So we just kept it under wraps.

"It’s a painful one, it’s definitely something that’s going to be hard, but it’s the right thing.”

Although he had initially resigned himself to stepping away for good, O’Donoghue did admit that he tried to get himself right for another cut under Jack O’Connor.

“I know Jack well, very well and have always got on great with him, and I know that if I was right, I could have picked up the phone and rang him and said ‘I’m thinking about changing my mind, what do you think?’

“I actually did give a go at getting into very good nick for it, just to see if I could give it one last go, but do you know what - my body wasn’t up to it, just that the way it is. I’ll go back to the club now, tailor my programme and I guarantee you that I might not see another injury, just the slight drop in intensity might suit me.

“If I was right I could have picked up the phone and we’d have had a chat, but it just didn’t feel right.”

O’Donoghue was speaking on The Football Pod, the OTB podcast which he will now host alongside Paddy Andrews and Tommy Rooney.

Despite his battles with injuries, the Killarney native enjoyed a memorable career for The Kingdom. After making his league debut in 2010, he soon became a key figure in Kerry’s forward division and was integral when Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side won the 2014 All-Ireland final against Donegal.

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Kingdom youngsters defeat Dublin outfit to capture Kennedy Shield

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Kerry won their first piece of Kennedy Cup silverware in seven years by defeating the North Dublin Schoolboys/Girls League (NDSL) by two goals to one at the University of Limerick.

After drawing with Tipperary South 3-3 and losing 1-0 to Waterford in heartbreaking fashion in the group stage, the Kingdom entered the shield. Goals by Thomas Keane and Donnacha Vaughan helped them to a 2-1 win over Carlow in the quarter-final, which set up a semi-final tie against Clare.

That clash with their fellow Munster men ended in a 1-1 draw at full-time (Jayden Hurley provided the Kerry goal) and so the match went all the way to penalties. Kerry held their nerve to prevail 6-5 and advance to the final.

Kerry started well against NDSL in the decider and goals via a Lachlann Scannell corner and Darragh Keane gave them a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes.

The Dubliners pulled one back in the second period but the Kerry lads showed courage, heart and plenty of skill to hang on and capture the coveted shield.

Congratulations to players and management on a fantastic achievement.

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Silver and gold for Muckross rowers at Munster Branch Regatta

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Muckross Rowing Club had a large contingent of crews competing in the recent Munster Branch Regatta held at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.

The event was the latest in an action-packed regatta season for the club that has already taken in regattas in Limerick, Leitrim and a number of events in Cork.

The club enjoyed a very successful outing with three wins, four second place finishes and 11 further crews placing third in race finals.

The club was especially successful in the Men’s J18B Double event, taking both gold and silver in the final with four crews from the club among the final six. The other two golds for Muckross were secured in the final of the Men’s J16 Double and the Men’s J14 Quad.

The club is now looking forward to its next regatta, another outing to the National Rowing Centre for the two-day Cork Regatta. The Cork Regatta is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, June 22/23, with 28 Muckross crews entered.

The Cork Regatta also takes in a round of selection trials, with a number of Muckross rowers in contention for selection to national crews.

The final weekend of June is then among the busiest for the club. On Saturday, June 29, the Rowing Ireland 1k Classic in Lough Rynn, Leitrim is the top national event for Junior 14-15 and Masters crews. And on Sunday, June 30, the historic Killarney Regatta will see local rivalries renewed in the contest for traditional ‘Sixing’ races. The Killarney Six style of traditional rowing boat is now unique to the town.

The busy spell of competition for the Muckross club then leads on to the ultimate national contest: the Irish Rowing Championships in mid-July.

WINNING MUCKROSS CREWS: Men’s J18B Double – Seán O’Donovan, Cillian Leslie. Men’s J16 Double – Ronan Fahy, Cian Scannell (Muckross A). Men’s J14 Quad – Aaron O’Connor, Connor Duffin, Oscar O’Sullivan, Aaron Hegarty.

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