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Keane names both Clifford brothers in dynamic Kerry forward line

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Kerry senior football manager Peter Keane. Pic: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile.

Kerry manager Peter Keane has named his first starting 15 of 2021 and the big news is that star forward David Clifford will be joined in attack by his older brother, Paudie.

The elder Clifford made his first appearances for Kerry as a substitute against Monaghan and Cork towards the tail end of last year. Keane will hand the Fossa native his first start in tomorrow's National League opener against Galway (3pm, Live on Eir Sport).

Paudie has impressed while representing East Kerry in recent seasons and the stylish half/centre forward was instrumental in his divisional side's County Championship triumphs of 2019 and 2020. He will line out at No. 15 for Kerry in Austin Stack Park tomorrow, with his sibling reverting to his favoured No. 13 jersey. (The younger Clifford wore No. 14 as he played a captain's role for Kerry in 2020, with some observers speculating that this was due to the old piseóg, or superstition, that no Kerry captain has won an All-Ireland wearing 13.)

It is a very attack-minded front six with veteran Paul Geaney being named at left half forward alongside Seán O'Shea (centre) and Dara Moynihan (right half).

Killian Spillane, who scored the winner against Galway the last time the teams met, lines out at full forward.

In defence, Brian Ó Beaglaoich starts at right corner back behind Paul Murphy, who will lead his teammates out as Kerry's official captain for the first time. The experienced Rathmore defender has captained the side previously but only in a temporary capacity.

Gavin Crowley starts at centre back in place of the now-retired Peter Crowley while Tralee pair David Moran and Jack Barry have been named at midfield.

In a departure from past team announcements, Peter Keane has also named his substitutes from 16-26. There's a place on the bench for newcomers Kieran Fitzgibbon, Paul O'Shea, Mike Breen and Kevin O'Sullivan.

Galway, meanwhile, will be glad to welcome influential full forward Damien Comer back into the fold. Comer sustained a hamstring injury in his side's 15-point defeat to Mayo in the league last October and subsequently missed Galway's only championship match of the abbreviated season: the Connacht final, when Mayo, once again, were the victors.

Manager Pádraic Joyce has named two debutants in his first line-up of the year. U20 All-Ireland-winning captain Jack Glynn starts at corner back while Dylan McHugh of Corofin is named at centre back. Two more of that successful U20 team will start in attack as both Paul Kelly and Matthew Tierney get the nod in a forward line that also contains Eamonn Brannigan, Dessie Conneely, and team captain Shane Walsh.

Kerry team to face Galway

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)

3. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)

4. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)

5. Paul Murphy (Captain - Rathmore)

6. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)

7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. David Moran (Kerin's O'Rahilly's)

9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa)

11. Seán O'Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks)

12. Paul Geaney (Dingle)

13. David Clifford (Fossa)

14. Killian Spillane (Templenoe)

15. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)

https://twitter.com/Kerry_Official/status/1393280165430583299?s=20

Galway team to face Kerry

1. Bernard Power

2. Jack Glynn

3. Seán Ó Maoilchiaráin

4. Liam Silke

5. Gary O’Donnell

6. Dylan McHugh

7. Johnny Heaney

8. Peter Cooke

9. Paul Conroy

10. Paul Kelly

11. Matthew Tierney

12. Eamonn Brannigan

13. Dessie Conneely

14. Damien Comer

15. Shane Walsh (Captain)

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Tobin hails Spa teammates following ‘fairytale’ final

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by Adam Moynihan

Spa have been desperate to win Kerry’s Intermediate Club Championship, and earn promotion back to senior level, since 2010 when they were demoted at the first time of asking following their Intermediate final victory the year before.

With the other clubs in the parish (Dr Crokes and the Killarney Legion) operating at senior, and with a strong batch of young players coming through in recent years, returning to the top table as quickly as possible has been the club’s primary target. They came close on a number of occasions in the intervening years, losing three finals between 2012 and 2015.

They finally managed to reach the mountain top on Sunday last and there was one remarkable link between 2009 and their latest triumph. Cian Tobin’s last full season with Spa was in 2009. He then emigrated to London and later Abu Dhabi, before returning to Killarney this year and linking up with his club.

Tobin played a key role for Spa as they broke their hoodoo by defeating Beaufort in last Sunday’s decider at the Fitzgerald Stadium. The skilful corner forward bagged 3-1 in the 4-18 to 1-19 win, a tally which earned him the sponsor’s Man of the Match award.

As far as comebacks go, this one is fairly special. However, amidst all the celebrations, the fact that Tobin missed out on a decade of hard graft and tough losses has not been lost on his colleagues.

“The lads have been giving me an awful slagging this week,” the 30-year-old says with a smile. “They’ve been saying, ‘you are so jammy, you’ve been away for years and you come back and we win it straight away!’

“I missed a lot of the hard work in those winter months. I was joking with them that I was doing the warm weather training for the last 10 years while they were up in Spa in the rain.

“To be fair, I found it easy to fit in when I came back because the young fellas and the management team are outstanding to work with it.”

GOALS

Beaufort, who are relative newcomers to intermediate having won the Junior Premier Championship in 2018, gave as good as they got in the first half of Sunday’s final, but Tobin’s opening goal in the 25th minute came at just the right time for Spa.

“I thought Beaufort were excellent,” Tobin reflects. “I went with Shane Cronin to watch their semi-final (versus Na Gaeil) and I was very impressed. Some of their kicking the last day was outstanding too. There was great forward play. Liam Carey got a point that was an absolutely scandalous score.

“It was tight in the first half until the first goal came. It just fell to me in the right position. I got lucky. Until then it was very close.”

Goals two and three followed in the second half. They were neatly tucked away by Spa’s No. 15, but, to his mind, the credit goes to his teammates for teeing him up.

“Shane Cronin is a machine when he gets going, he’s very hard to stop. He put [the second goal] on a plate for me. I didn’t really have much to do again. But yeah, once that went in there was a bit of daylight. In all our matches we have been pushing on in that third quarter, and that’s when we kind of pulled away again on Sunday.

“The third one was a great turnover by Ciarán Spillane and, again, he put it on a plate for me. It was one of them days… I know someone has to score them but the work was done out the field really.”

Guided by the management team of Ivor Flynn, Kieran Herlihy, Brian Gleeson, Neily Kerins and Arthur Fitzgerald, Spa powered to an eight-point win. Does the manner of their performance perhaps underline the fact that they deserve a crack at senior?

“I think so,” Tobin nods. “Everyone from No. 5 up, bar one, scored. That’s a massive spread of scorers. And then we have the full back line of Brian Lynch, Shane Lynch and Eoin Fitzgerald… In years past maybe we would have had a few weaker spots in the team but I think we’re strong all over the field now.”

INTRODUCTION

The effect COVID-19 has had on the 2020 and 2021 GAA calendars means that the 2020 Intermediate champs now have a rapid turnaround ahead of their long-awaited senior bow. First up is a group phase match against their neighbours and fierce rivals, Dr Crokes, on Sunday.

“Nice introduction, isn’t it?!” Tobin jokes. “That’s where you want to be, though. Playing in those kinds of games in the Fitzgerald Stadium against the club kingpins in Kerry. Now that we’re there, hopefully we can do ourselves justice.

“It means a lot [to be a senior club]. We thought ourselves that we deserved to be there, and we’ve put in the work to be there, we just haven’t always got the rub of the green in recent years. It felt like, ‘are we ever going to get over the line?’

“The feeling at the final whistle on Sunday was just relief more than anything, I think, because we’ve been there so many times.

“Maybe not so much me because I’ve been away, but I think it was three finals we lost, and we lost some close games against Templenoe recently. We always thought we were good enough to get over the line but we just hadn’t been doing it.

“To be honest, it was fairytale stuff for me.”

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Late drama at exciting Celtic Golf Classic

The last team out at the Killarney Celtic Golf Classic carded 106 points to overtake all who went before at an entertaining fundraiser staged over two days at the pristine Beaufort Golf Club. From Friday to late Saturday afternoon, the imposing tally of 101 points registered by the O’Donoghue Ring Hotel Group team of James […]

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The last team out at the Killarney Celtic Golf Classic carded 106 points to overtake all who went before at an entertaining fundraiser staged over two days at the pristine Beaufort Golf Club.

From Friday to late Saturday afternoon, the imposing tally of 101 points registered by the O’Donoghue Ring Hotel Group team of James McCarthy, Brian McCarthy, Cian Harte and Gavin Murray looked like being a winning one. The got a scare when the Spa GAA team almost caught them; Seánie Kelliher, Donal Cronin, John Cahill and Seán Devane ultimately carded a great score of 100 points to go second.

With the O’Donoghue Ring Hotel Group quartet hanging on for victory, it was all down to Kissane Meats and Pat O’Neill, John England, Tony Sugrue and Donie Brosnan snatched first place by hitting a weekend high of 106 points.

The Nearest to the Pin was won by Aaron Jones of the Dawn Meats team while the Longest Drive came from the club of Mark O’Shea who was representing Tom Meehan’s team.

Speaking at the prizegiving, Killarney Celtic Vice Chairman Paul Sherry thanked all involved for contributing to another hugely successful fundraising day for the club.

“Killarney Celtic is indebted to its members who volunteered over the two days,” he said, “to those who sponsored the prizes, entered teams, took signs, provided the fruit and chocolate and of course, most importantly, played on Friday and Saturday.
“We also must thank the staff at Beaufort, both working on the course and those in the clubhouse.

“A sign of a good golf classic is the number of returning teams and sponsors and already a number have committed to join us again in August/September 2022.”

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