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Killarney RFC coast to U16 Munster final

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Munster U16 League Semi-Final

Killarney 26 Bruff 0

Aghadoe

The Killarney RFC U16 girls are on the cusp of provincial glory following a one-sided victory over Bruff in the semi-final of the Munster League.

The Killarney girls were superb on the day despite the wintry January conditions. After taking a 7-0 lead in the first half, they powered on in the second to register a comfortable 26-point win.

They now await the winners of the other semi between Ennis and Ballincollig, which is due to take place this weekend.

ENTERTAINING

Played in front of a large crowd in Aghadoe on a very wet afternoon, the girls from Killarney and Bruff played out an entertaining game of rugby.

Killarney attacked right from the start but the Bruff defensive line was very much up to the challenge; on a couple of occasions they made some great try-saving tackles.

In fairness to the hosts, they kept playing good passing rugby and Bronagh Dorrian eventually forced her way over the line to give them the lead. Dorrian duly converted her own try to make it 7-0 at the interval.

Killarney started off the second half right where they left off. Marina Eager, Niamh Dorrian and Ali O’Donoghue made some weaving runs but again the Bruff tackling was of the highest standard.

Eventually Bronagh Dorrian got over the line for her second try following some good play by centre Holly O’Sullivan. Killarney now had a lead of 12 points. Then some excellent interplay by the outstanding Killarney back row set up Clodagh Foley for the try of the day.

With 15 minutes remaining on the clock, the Killarney No. 8 Ava O’Malley picked from the base of the scrum and touched down for the home team’s fourth try. Captain Fia Whelan converted to bring her side’s tally to 26 and round off the day’s scoring.

The Killarney replacements added a lot to the team’s performance and Gráinne Kennedy, who had been introduced just after half-time, made a great break but was just denied by another excellent Bruff tackle.

PERFORMANCE

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, coach Diarmuid O’Malley said he was “delighted” with his team’s performance.

“Weather-wise it wasn’t really what we would have liked – we like to play a running style of rugby, so the wet conditions wouldn’t have suited. That made the result even more pleasing, against a very abrasive Bruff team who were very resolute.

“Reaching the final is huge for Killarney RFC. Kerry teams normally play second or third fiddle to clubs from the strongholds in Cork and Limerick, and they normally operate in the second or third tier of competitions. These girls are playing in the highest tier in the province, so that is hugely satisfying. A lot of the players are relatively new to the game and they’re really enjoying it.

“We had a huge crowd at the semi-final and they gave the girls great support.”

O’Malley is hoping for another strong Killarney turnout for the final, which is likely to take place the weekend of January 22/23.

KILLARNEY: 1. Annie O’Reilly, 2. Ella Guerin Crowley, 3. Molly Gabbett, 4. Joanne O’Keefe, 5. Jess O’Sullivan, 6. Melissa McCarthy, 7. Clodagh Foley, 8. Ava O’Malley, 9. Robyn Landers, 10. Fia Whelan (captain), 11. Ali O’Donoghue, 12. Bronagh Dorrian, 13. Holly O’Sullivan, 14. Niamh Dorrian, 15. Marina Eager. Subs: Miriam O’Sullivan, Isabella O’Leary, Gráinne Kennedy, Lucy O’Sullivan, Nell Moore, Kate Mangan, Coaches: Diarmuid O’Malley, Josh Whelan. Manager: Anne Gabbett.

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Killarney girls rack up big score in Cork

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The Killarney RFC U18.5 girls team are in pre-season mode and they laid down a marker for the upcoming season with an impressive 54-24 victory over Ballincollig.

Killarney fielded a relatively inexperienced side in the challenge match at a sun-drenched Tanner Park but they started strongly with tries by Ali O’Donoghue and  Bronagh Dorrian.

Some excellent play by Orna Driver set up the score of the day by Katie O’Donoghue,  who went on a super run and fended off a number of opponents before touching down. The try was duly converted by Fia Whelan.

The try scorers were: Fia Whelan, Ali O’Donoghe, Bronagh Dorrian x 2, Lilly Morris x 2, Molly Jenkinson and Katie O’Donoghue with seven conversations from both Whelan and Dorrian.

“It was fantastic to have the girls back out playing a match,” joint coach Diarmuid O’Malley said. “Some of the rugby the girls played was of the highest standard.”

“We are very excited with the number of girls playing rugby at the club and we want to encourage anyone who is thinking of giving it a try to pop up on a Wednesday evening at 7pm. U14, U16 and U18.5 players all welcome.”

KILLARNEY: 1. Emer O’Keeffe, 2. Becca McGrath, 3. Lily Morris (Joint Captain), 4. Orna Driver, 5. Becci Fleming, 6. Clodagh Foley, 7. Katie O’Donoghue, 8. Ava O’Malley, 9. Robyn Landers, 10. Fia Whelan (Joint Captain), 11. Ellen Considine, 12. Bronagh Dorrian, 13. Ali O’Donoghue, 14. Marina Eagar, 15. Molly Jenkinson. Coaches: Diarmuid O’Malley, Josh Whelan, Liam Murphy. Team Manager: Jenna.

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New-look Lakers ready for big tip-off

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Last year the Scotts Lakers were left to rue a slow start when they missed out on the playoffs by a single basket. With that in mind, starting off on the right foot is sure to be a priority this time around.

The Lakers get their 2022/23 National League Division 1 season up and running on Saturday, October 1 with a home game against the Limerick Sport Eagles. When they take to the court at Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre there will be a new enough look to the team.

Foreign imports Godwin Boahen and Emilian Grudov have moved on during the off-season and have been replaced by American shooter Eric Cooper Jr, Dutch ball carrier Esebio Strijdhaftig and Ukrainian big man Dmytro Berozkin.

Cooper Jr is a graduate of Pepperdine University and his eye for a basket has been evident in pre-season. His 84 three-pointers in a single season is the third best haul in Pepperdine’s history. Bosman player Strijdhaftig plays point guard and he was very adept in defence and in taking the ball to the rim at his previous club Almere (Netherlands).

Berozkin will be endeavouring to use his 6’10” frame to his advantage in both offence and defence. He has represented his native Ukraine at U16, U18 and U20 level. Now based in Killarney, he will be looking to settle quickly into the pace of the league.

Rui Saravia – the Portuguese player who signed last season – is staying put and with local lads Mark O’Shea and Paul Clarke also committed (GAA commitments in the short term allowing), the Lakers are expecting to put out a strong starting five.

Teenagers Jamie O’Sullivan and Senan O’Leary will be looking to add minutes to their court time and, the more he played, David Gleeson improved immeasurably as a force at both ends last season.

The squad will be further boosted by the presence of Irish underage international Ronan Collins, who, like Gleeson, is a Gneeveguilla native. Collins had a very impressive record in the green of Ireland and once he settles into the league he will be a real asset to the squad.

Marko Benčić, the son of former Lakers coach Vojkan, contributed hugely to the scoring effort in the latter part of last season’s league campaign. He will be looking to push on again in 2022/23.

The club will, as always, be looking to harvest the potential of their outstanding underage structure and young guns Mark Sheahan, Jack O’Sullivan and Eoin Carroll – amongst others – will be involved with the squad. Another addition to the squad is Jamie Cooke who is well known for his basketball prowess with the Kerry Stars club.

That sluggish start in 2021 was mitigated somewhat by players being unavailable and the fact that their home venue was being used as a makeshift vaccination centre (their first four home games were staged at alternative venues).

There should be no such excuses this time around and coach Jarlath Lee will be hoping for a positive opening month that includes three home games here in Killarney. The other Limerick side, the Celtics, will visit the town on October 22 and Cork outfit Fr Mathews will cross the county bounds on October 30.

The sole road trip in October is to Waterford to take on the SETU Waterford Vikings October 8. The league is a little more arduous this season in terms of travel; with away days in Donegal and Dublin, a large, functioning squad is vital.

St Paul’s have once again expressed their gratitude to the team’s main sponsor, Maurice O’Donoghue of Scotts Hotel. The O’Donoghue family’s legacy in supporting Killarney basketball goes back over 40 years.

The club is also seeking additional support via the following initiatives: Season Ticket (€100) – Admission to all nine home National League and cup games; Patron Ticket (€150) – Admission for two adults to all nine home National League and cup games; Game Sponsor (€300) – Admission for two to all nine home National League and cup games, your business name featured on the front of your sponsored game programme, and your business name attached to all advertising for the game on social media, local written media and on Radio Kerry previews and reports.

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