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Kerry draw with Dublin thanks to last-gasp Clifford penalty

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Kerry manager Peter Keane (file photo). Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

National League Division 1 (South)

Dublin 4-9 Kerry 1-18

(HT: Dublin 3-6 Kerry 0-9)

David Clifford converted a 74th-minute penalty as Kerry secured a hard-earned draw with reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin in Thurles this afternoon.

After enduring a shaky first half, The Kingdom trailed by as many as seven points early in the second but Clifford's goal capped an impressive fightback.

The result leaves both footballing kingpins level at the top of Division 1 South on three points apiece.

GOALS

Dublin opened Kerry up for three goals in the first period and the warning signs were there from the opening minutes when Con O'Callaghan struck the outside of the post with a fisted effort following an overly unselfish pass from Niall Scully.

Playing with the wind at their backs, Kerry had numerous opportunities to power ahead early on but, remarkably, Peter Keane's side kicked five wides in the first eight minutes. Seán O'Shea's lone point was their only reward for a period of extended pressure.

Ciarán Kilkenny equalised in the ninth minute, and then Kerry found their feet. Diarmuid O'Connor, Dara Moynihan and David Clifford all pointed to make it 4-1 and the forwards, who earned so much praise for their showing against Galway last week, looked to be moving through the gears.

Dublin threw a spanner in the works when Con O'Callaghan ghosted in behind Tadhg Morley to register his first goal of the day but Kerry recovered well and scores by Paudie Clifford and O'Connor gave them a two-point advantage at the first water break.

The Dubs must have emerged from that break well-hydrated because they quickly rattled off 1-3 without reply, the goal coming from the boot of Cormac Costello following good work by O'Callaghan. It could have been worse for Kerry but for a fine save from Kieran Fitzgibbon to deny O'Callaghan his second, and David Clifford tagged on two points at the other end to make it a two-point game.

The lively Paddy Small missed a goal opportunity for Dublin in the 32nd minute, although he did get the consolation of a point when his shot flew high over Fitzgibbon's crossbar.

Then came the biggest talking point of the first half. After receiving the ball from Gavin White in a wide position, Dara Moynihan skinned his man, Robbie McDaid, with a lovely sidestep before bearing down on goal. McDaid held Moynihan but the Spa man powered through the tackle and slipped a neat finish past Comerford into the bottom corner. However, referee Seán Hurson called the play back for the foul on Moynihan, denying Kerry a goal that would have levelled the sides at a crucial juncture.

The decision left Moynihan and his fellow Kerry forwards visibly furious.

O'Shea tapped over the free to make it 0-9 to 2-5 but any hopes Kerry had of keeping it tight until half-time were dashed when Small burst through a gap to score his third point from play. The Dubs now led by three and they doubled that lead two minutes into stoppage time when Paul Murphy failed to deal with Scully's long ball, allowing O'Callaghan to gather, round the keeper, and finish from close range.

Kerry trailed by six at half-time (0-9 to 3-6) and by this stage the match was in danger of getting away from them.

RUN

Costello widened the gap to seven in the 39th minute with a score that was far too easy from Kerry's point of view, but then came the comeback.

Paul Geaney kicked Kerry's 10th point (his last action of the game) with 44 minutes on the clock and subsequent scores by Moynihan and David Clifford (three) cut the deficit to just two. Costello fisted over to break the run but when Paul Murphy did likewise at the other end, The Kingdom trailed 0-15 to 3-8 heading into the water break.

Kerry were putting pressure on the Dubs by this point and further points by O'Shea and Murphy drew the sides level for the first time in over half an hour.

Disaster struck for the defending league champions on the hour-mark, however, when Diarmuid O'Connor's high tackle on Con O'Callaghan resulted in a penalty. Costello emphatically applied the finish to swing the tie in the Leinster side's favour and, once again, Kerry had it all to do.

O'Shea pulled one back via a free following a foul on substitute Stephen O'Brien but the Dubs entered game management mode thereafter, retaining possession with ruthless efficiency as Kerry waited for their opportunity to strike. They got their chance in the 71st minute but corner back Jason Foley was foiled by Comerford. When O'Callaghan pointed at the other end to make it a three-point game, the result appeared to be out of reach.

There was still time for one final twist, however, and when O'Brien was felled in the area by Philly McMahon, it was left to Clifford to decide Kerry's fate. The Fossa superstar made no mistake from 11 metres, sending Comerford the wrong way and salvaging a point in the process.

KERRY SCORERS: David Clifford 1-6 (1f, 1p), Seán O’Shea 0-4 (2f), Diarmuid O'Connor 0-2, Dara Moynihan 0-2, Paul Murphy 0-2, Paudie Clifford 0-1, Paul Geaney 0-1.

DUBLIN SCORERS: Cormac Costello 2-3 (1p), Con O'Callaghan 2-1, Paddy Small 0-3, Ciarán Kilkenny 0-1, Brian Fenton 0-1.

KERRY: Fitzgibbon; Ó Beaglaoich, Morley, Foley; Murphy, Crowley, White; Moran, O'Connor; Moynihan, S O’Shea, Geaney; D Clifford, K Spillane, P Clifford.

Subs: Walsh for K Spillane (HT), Buckley for Geaney (45), A Spillane for Moran (45), O'Brien for P Clifford (50), Sherwood for White (57), G O'Sullivan for Ó Beaglaoich (57), Burns for Moynihan (62).

DUBLIN: Comerford; Murchan, Byrne, Fitzsimons; McCarthy, J Small, McDaid; Fenton, Lahiff; Scully, Kilkenny; S McMahon; P Small, O’Callaghan, Costello.

SUBS: Basquel for Lahiff (47), Mullin for P Small (55), Lowndes for McDaid (55), P McMahon for J Small (59), Bugler for Kilkenny (66), Cooper for S McMahon (66), Howard for Scully (71).

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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Soccer coach licensed to one of the highest levels in Ireland

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week. Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.The UEFA B Licence is a […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week.

Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.
The UEFA B Licence is a coaching licence mandated by UEFA, the official governing body of European football. The licence is one level below the UEFA A Licence and allows holders to be head coaches of amateur clubs, youths up to age 16, and assistant coaches for professional clubs.

Ramona started her training in November 2019 and continued, when restrictions allowed, on several block weekends taking place in FAI Headquarters Dublin, Foto Island in Cork, and final assessments in NUIG in Galway.

“Ramona played a significant role in the course group, supporting the younger coaches and challenging those more experienced, ensuring that the group was dynamic, engaging, interactive and a real positive learning environment,” said the FAI’s Head of Coach Education FAI Niall O’Regan.

“Ramona has been a significant role model for not only female coaches but also males coaches in the Kerry region and has done phenomenal work in her previous club Killarney Celtic and more recently with Mastergeeha. It is so important to have such role models and the motivation Ramona has shown is infectious and many coaches will continue in the same vein.”

For Ramona, this week’s award was the culmination of months of hard work, seminars and study.

“It was really tough at the time, final assessments had been submitted, everything had then switched to Zoom and we were so eager to get it finished. Luckily enough I got to finish off a lot of the course content online and then had individual assessments with my tutor Richie Holland current Cork City Men’s Assistant Manager,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Then when we returned to outdoor sports in July we got our practical assessments finished with Galway Utd in NUIG.”

ASSESSMENT

The final assessment took place at Mastergeeha FC pitch – the first time ever that a UEFA coaching assessment took place in Kerry.

“I was coaching in Mastergeeha FC in Killarney pre covid and based on logistics and other coaches’ locations in Munster on my UEFA B I was delighted to coordinate a UEFA B assessment with the FAI to be held in the Mastergeeha with the help of the committee,” she added.

“Tom O’Connor FAI Coach Educator and former Interim Republic of Ireland’s Head Coach was really impressed with the setup, the standard of really good footballers and the fantastic committee that ran it so smoothly.”

It was the first time UEFA B assessments were ever held in Kerry and the facilities, committee and the Mastergeeha U16 Boys team were outstanding that day.

She received mentoring and support from some of the biggest names in Irish soccer.

“I was delighted and honoured to receive my UEFA B Diploma Licence,” she said. “Throughout the diploma I’ve had some great tutors, mentors and some great guest speakers from Robbie Keane, Vera Pauw, Stephen Rice and Ruud Dokter FAI High Performance.

“There was a great core group of us on the course from Irish Senior International Players like Katie McCabe, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahy and I’ve made some amazing friendships with all the ladies on the course. From the start it was a group of huge experience, drive and determination was something we all had in common and it’s great to see us all complete it together.”

LOCAL HELP

She could not have done it without the help of her home club.

“On a personal note, I just want to thank Mastergeeha FC for all their help and support, with special mention to all the management committee, teams and coaches. Must give a mention to Allan Moynihan, Brendan Buckley, Paul Lenihan and Ulick O’Sullivan also. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Academy training in the next two weeks,” she added.

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