Kenmare native John Crowley has been declared the winner of the first ever Killarney Advertiser Fantasy Club game after he romped home to victory with a whopping 51 points to spare.
Crowley, who is a garda in Killarney, finished head and shoulders above the competition thanks in part to the high-scoring exploits of his clubmates Dan McCarthy, Paul O’Connor and Seán O’Shea. The trio combined for 212 fantasy points over the course of the Kerry Senior Club Championship, which accounted for roughly a third of Crowley’s 653-point total.
The Kenmare man walks away with the grand prize: a brand new set of jerseys courtesy of league sponsors Gaelic Plus.
Kerry and Killarney Legion goalkeeper Brian Kelly made a late burst to overtake Philip O’Connor (Dr Crokes) in second; Kelly’s final round total of 104 was one of the scores of the round (no one else in the top five registered more than 55). The All-Ireland-winning keeper will be the toast of his Legion teammates as he claims the runner-up prize: 20 pairs of club-crested Gaelic Plus gloves. O’Connor, meanwhile, will receive a Gaelic Plus hoodie, training shirt and leisure shorts.
Castleisland’s Graham O’Connor finished just outside the prizes in fourth with Gneeveguilla senior footballer DJ Murphy rounding out the top five.
A quick glance at the overall Team of the Tournament throws up one interesting stat as only two players from club champions Austin Stacks ended up making the dream 15.
This is perhaps explained by the fact that it was a real team effort by The Rockies. They had a spread of fantasy scorers both at the back and up front, and the manner in which key forwards like Darragh O’Brien, Shane O’Callaghan and Seán Quilter were rotated in and out of the starting line-up meant that they had no standout scorer over the course of the championship.
Beaten finalists Kenmare are the best-represented club in the Team of the Year with six players in total, and having the top forward (Seán O’Shea), top midfielder (Kevin O’Sullivan) and top “back” (Dan McCarthy) underscores how impressive a campaign they had.
It will be of scant consolation to them after the disappointment of last Sunday’s defeat but at least their friend and clubmate, John Crowley, will be bringing a new set of jerseys back to Fr Breen Park in not-too-distant future.
Speaking at the conclusion of the inaugural Fantasy Club competition, Killarney Advertiser Sports Editor Adam Moynihan congratulated the winners and thanked all of the participants for playing.
“Well done to our top three, especially to John who managed to select the perfect team,” he said. “This was our first year trying this out so we’re very grateful to everyone who got involved, not least our sponsor, Shane Cronin of Gaelic Plus.
“The feedback has been really positive so we’re looking forward to coming back bigger and better for Fantasy Club 21.”
Fleming and Doherty top Killarney crew at Boggeragh
The Boggeragh Rallysprint, organised by Cork Motor Club and based in the forest complex of the same name, took place over the Christmas break.
Based near the village of Nad, the event attracted a strong 60-plus car entry and was won by West Cork driver David Guest and his Millstreet co-driver Liam Moynihan in a Ford Fiesta Rally 2. The latter is a member of Killarney and District Motor Club.
The first all-Killarney crew to make the finish were David Fleming and Kieran Doherty in their Honda Civic. The Killarney-based crew finished 20th overall on what was only their second time competing on a gravel rally.
World Rally Championship launch
The new Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid that Craig Breen and Paul Nagle will drive in this year’s World Rally Championship is set to be unveiled on Saturday in Austria.
The World Rally Championship will undergo major environmental changes this year when new technical regulations drive the series towards a more sustainable future.
The season launch takes place at Red Bull’s headquarters near Salzburg ahead of the first round of the WRC, next week’s Rallye Monte Carlo, as a new era for the sport dawns.
Breen and Nagle will be in attendance and the launch will be live streamed on WRC.com
Killarney Valley athletes rubbing shoulders with the best
Killarney Valley AC continued their upward curve last Sunday when they entered men’s and women’s teams in the prestigious National Indoor Track and Field Championships, which were held in Abbotstown in Dublin.
Despite going up against the best of the best in terms of Irish athletics, the Killarney Valley contingent gave a good account of themselves at the state-of-the-art National Indoor Arena, with coaches Tomás Griffin and Con Lynch coming away with plenty of positives to reflect upon.
The women’s team was comprised of Sarah Leahy, Ciara Kennelly, Alison Butler, Grace O’Meara, Ellen Moloney and Melissa Ahern, while the men’s team included Conor Gammell, Oisín Lynch, Kevin O’Callaghan, Sam Griffin, Jason O’Reilly, Dara Looney and Darragh O’Leary.
The nature of the team event presents a number of challenges and opportunities for the forward-thinking club, as coach Tomás Griffin explained to the Killarney Advertiser this week.
“The indoor league is senior elite level so you’re competing against really strong athletes, including some Olympians,” Griffin said. “Part of the criteria is that you try to cover as many of the events as you possibly can within all of the athletic disciplines. You compete as a team, as opposed to normal athletics competitions which are very much based on the individual.
“If you are 16 or you turn 16 in the year of competition, you can participate. That allows us to give our up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to compete as part of a representative team alongside our more established, older athletes.
“There are two rounds with half the events in all disciplines covered in Round 1 and the other half in Round 2. Last week in Round 1 the track events were the 50m sprint, the 200m sprint, and the 800m, along with the 4 x 400m relay. So, for those events alone, you have to have sprinters and you have to have middle distance athletes all stepping up to compete against one representative from all the other clubs.
“The field events were the shot putt, the long jump, and the pole vault. You can see there you’ve got to have a pretty diverse club that is trying to focus on as many disciplines as possible on the development sides of things.”
Individual athletes earn points based on where they finish in their event (12 points for first etc.), with points tallied together to make up the team’s overall total. There are 12 clubs vying for the women’s title and 13 fighting for the men’s. After Round 2, which takes place on January 23 in Athlone, the top six clubs will advance to the finals.
The demands that such a competition place on a club mean that it is a major achievement to be able to take part at all. Apart from Killarney Valley, Leevale AC from Cork were the only other club in Munster who fielded a team.
“For us to have enough athletes of that age or above, that are competent enough in their disciplines to be able to represent us and compete – and score – is a significant breakthrough. We scored quite well across some of the events. There were some events that we struggled to cover because we’re still trying to develop the full range, but as a club we know that we need to develop those disciplines.
“And we have some younger athletes who are 13 or 14 and they’re now learning pole vault, for instance. If we can maintain the momentum then we will have pole vaulters in a couple of years’ time.”
Griffin says the Killarney Valley competitors really enjoyed the experience, while also putting in some impressive performances.
“They loved it. The bigger powerhouse clubs have very high-profile athletes at their disposal; there were four Olympians whom our athletes got to compete against and interact with.
“Our own Sarah Leahy did exceptionally well in the 60m sprint. She ran the joint fastest time in the league, a personal best of 7.61 seconds, which is the fastest she has ever run 60m indoors.
“In the men’s 60m sprint, Conor Gammell made the top five and ran a personal best. We also had Sam Griffin, who is normally a long jumper, who ran a personal best of 7.58 seconds. He finished third in his race. Dara Looney, another long jumper who was doubling up on sprints, finished fifth and also had a personal best.
“Melissa Ahern, an up-and coming sprinter, ran 8.43 seconds, and Ellen Moloney, who was a first-timer at this level, ran a personal best as well. We have a good batch of sprinters competing and it’s good to expose them to this level.
“Alison Butler scored some valuable points for us in the 800m, and in the men’s 800 Oisín Lynch ran a massive personal best. Our shot putt thrower Kevin O’Callaghan is new to athletics; he had to throw an adult shot (7.2kg) for the first time and he did well, scoring five points for us. In fact, he threw the heavier weight nearly as far as he had been throwing the lighter weight.”
Griffin was keen to stress the importance of each individual team member to the overall group effort and whatever happens in Round 2, he is convinced that entering the competition will have huge benefits in the long run.
“We set ourselves of goal of having a team at National League level by 2023 so we’re a year ahead in that regard. It shows that we’re on the right trajectory.”
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