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Kerry fans bemoan tactics after shock championship exit



Last Saturday’s disappointing All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tyrone has left Kerry football supporters questioning the team’s tactics, a survey carried out by the Killarney Advertiser has revealed.

The Kingdom fell to an agonising one-point defeat after extra time, despite being strong favourites to advance to the final following an impressive run throughout the National League and Munster Championship.

This is the second year in a row that Kerry have exited the championship earlier than expected and, for the second year in a row, fans are citing the side’s tactical approach as one of the main reasons for the unexpected loss.

The open-ended question “What went wrong for Kerry against Tyrone?” was put to supporters by the Killarney Advertiser and, of the 280 responses, 28% explicitly mentioned “tactics”, while a further 11% suggested that “management” was the cause of the defeat.

One frequently submitted criticism was that the team “didn’t have a Plan B”.

Meanwhile, 13% of replies cited the players’ on-field “decision-making”. Trying for goals instead of taking easy points accounted for the bulk of these responses.

Attitude, individual errors, defence, team selection, conditioning, preparation, forwards, the referee, and an over-reliance on David Clifford and Seán O’Shea were some of the less common “reasons” offered up for the defeat.


Looking at the campaign as a whole, almost one-in-five supporters are apparently ‘satisfied’ (16%) or ‘very satisfied’ (2%) with Kerry’s season. Of the remainder, 55% said they were ‘dissatisfied’ and 27% said they were ‘very dissatisfied’.

Kerry manager Peter Keane has reached the end of his three-year term and it is not yet known if he will be seeking an extension. When asked if Keane should be given another year (or more) at the helm, 77% of respondents suggested that he should not, with 23% stating their belief that he should be given another shot.

Looking to the future, 43% of those polled think that Kerry will bounce back from this year’s disappointment to win the All-Ireland in 2022. Around three out of ten are predicting that 2023 will be our next All-Ireland-winning year, with a similar number stating that it will be 2024 or after before Sam returns to The Kingdom.


After a remarkable season which included a string of Man of the Match displays, Paudie Clifford has been singled out by supporters as Kerry’s Player of the Year. The Fossa and East Kerry forward picked up a whopping 49% of the vote with his brother, David, next in line on 19%. Seán O’Shea (17%) and Gavin White (12%) also received a significant number of votes.

Unsurprisingly, our readers have also selected Paudie as the Newcomer of the Year, although Mike Breen of Beaufort was another strong candidate in this category.

End-of-Season Kerry Supporters Survey (conducted online by the Killarney Advertiser)

1. Who deserved to win Saturday's All-Ireland semi-final?

Kerry 11%

Tyrone 89%

2. What went wrong for Kerry against Tyrone? (open-ended question)

Tactics 28%

Decision-making (players) 13%

Management 11%

Attitude 10%

Individual errors 7%

Defence 7%

Team selection 6%

Other 18%

3. How do you feel about Kerry's season as a whole?

Very satisfied 2%

Satisfied 16%

Dissatisfied 55%

Very dissatisfied 27%

4. Should Peter Keane be given another year (or more) at the helm?

Yes 23%

No 77%

5. Who was Kerry’s Player of the Year?

Paudie Clifford 49%

David Clifford 19%

Seán O’Shea 17%

Gavin White 12%

Tom O’Sullivan 2%

Jason Foley 0.5%

David Moran 0.5%

6. Who was Kerry’s best “newcomer” in 2021?

Paudie Clifford 91%

Mike Breen 7.5%

Kieran Fitzgibbon 1%

Paul O’Shea 0.5%

7. Who do you think will win the All-Ireland?

Tyrone 42%

Mayo 58%

8. Who do you hope will win the All-Ireland?

Tyrone 16%

Mayo 84%

9. When will Kerry win their next All-Ireland?

Next year 43%

2023 29%

2024 of after 28%


Tobin hails Spa teammates following ‘fairytale’ final



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.”


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.”


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 […]




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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