Kerry have promotion firmly in their sights
National League: Division 2 Final
Kerry v Armagh
Sunday at 2pm (Live on TG4)
Their male counterparts got the job done last weekend, now the Kerry ladies are gunning for National League glory on the hallowed turf of Croke Park.
The Kingdom face Armagh in the Division 2 final on Sunday and victory will mean more than just a trophy. If they can find a way to defeat their Ulster counterparts, they will earn a place in Division 1 for 2023.
Returning to the big league has been a major goal of Kerry’s since they lost their D1 status in 2018. They have come mightily close, reaching the Division 2 final in 2019 and 2021 (the 2020 competition was not completed) before coming up short on both occasions.
It’s fitting that Kerry and Armagh should contest this final as both sides boasted a perfect record in their respective pools before successfully navigating the semi-final phase of the competition.
Armagh’s last four result was particularly eye-catching: they demolished Laois on a staggering scoreline of 7-18 to 1-9. Star player Aimee Mackin registered 1-7 in that senior versus intermediate clash and Kerry will need to keep a close eye on the 2020 Player of the Year if they are to prevail.
Kerry, meanwhile, saw off the challenge of Monaghan in their semi-final with three points to spare, thanks in no small part to a wonderful lobbed goal from the boot of Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh. The experienced sharpshooter kicked 1-9 in total, with eight of those points coming from frees.
Armagh and Kerry last met in the league in 2020 when The Kingdom came out the right side of a two-point game in Tralee. Joint managers Declan Quill and Darragh Long will be delighted with a repeat of that result on Sunday.
This match will form part of a double-header with the Division 1 final between Donegal and Meath. Both games will be shown live on TG4.
Killarney man Maye pockets national pool title
Local lad Matthew Maye was the standout Kerry performer at the recent All-Ireland Pool Championships, which were staged at the INEC in Killarney.
Maye navigated a competitive field at the U23 grade to reach the final, but his All-Ireland hopes appeared to be slipping away when he trailed European finalist Aaron Doherty of Cork by two frames to six. The Killarney player battled back impressively, however, and he eventually prevailed 7-6 to clinch the title.
Matthew is still only 21 years of age and last year he won the All-Ireland Junior Championship. Following his latest victory he has now shown himself to be one of the top players in the country for his age.
Another Kerry Pool Association representative, Darragh Breen, had a great run by making it to both the All-Ireland Junior final and the U18 Singles final. With 410 competitors in the junior section, reaching the final was an outstanding achievement. Darragh has put in a huge amount of time and dedication to the game in the last couple of years and he is now reaping the reward of that work.
Over 800 participants from 27 counties took part in this year’s championships. Kerry had 36 players in total – more than they ever had before – with one team in the intermediate section and two teams in the junior section.
Kerry also had two Over 50 teams and an U23 side.
Cup glory on the double for Killarney Celtic
There was cause for celebration on the double for Killarney Celtic last Sunday as both their youths and senior teams captured silverware in Tralee.
The youths enjoyed a comprehensive victory over Killorglin in the Premier A league final with Eoghan Crowley (two), Dara O’Shea, Jason O’Sullivan and Cathal Kelly all finding the target in a 5-1 win at Mounthawk Park.
A little later at the same ground, the club’s senior team had a resounding win against Tralee Dynamos in the final of the League Cup. A 21st-minute rocket from the boot of Wayne Sparling sent Celtic on their way and further strikes by Witness Odirile and Cathal O’Shea (penalty) helped secure a 3-0 win. Veteran captain John McDonagh accepted the trophy on behalf of his teammates.
Celtic can now look forward to their Greyhound Bar KO Cup final on Sunday. They will take on the same team at the same venue at 6pm.
Their attention will then turn to a mouthwatering Premier A league final against crosstown rivals Killarney Athletic. That match has been fixed for Friday, June 2 at 7.30pm.
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