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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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Clifford and Moran start as Kerry name strong team for Mayo clash

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by Adam Moynihan

Star forward David Clifford and veteran midfielder David Moran have both been named in Kerry’s starting lineup for Sunday’s do-or-die All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo.

Clifford missed the team’s last match, the Munster final against Limerick on May 28, due to a calf injury he sustained in the previous outing against Cork.

The Killarney Advertiser understands that the Fossa native could have played in that provincial decider but Jack O’Connor and his backroom team opted to keep him in reserve, anticipating that he wouldn’t be needed. That proved to be a wise decision as The Kingdom coasted to a 23-point victory in Killarney.

Nevertheless, Kerry football’s gossipmongers are never not at it and speculation about Clifford’s status has been rife this past week. O’Connor confirmed on Monday that Clifford should be okay, although the somewhat unconvincing nature of his response gave some fans further cause for concern.

However, as was reported in today’s Killarney Advertiser, the three-time All-Star is, indeed, available for selection and he is set to reclaim his No. 14 jersey for Sunday’s crunch game in Croke Park.

Meanwhile, David Moran makes his first start for Kerry this season after recovering from a groin injury that ruled him out for the entirety of the league. Jack Barry misses out on the panel entirely, as does half forward Adrian Spillane. Their absence is likely due to injury, although this has not been confirmed.

There is also a place in the starting lineup for Dara Moynihan. The Spa player missed the Munster Championship with a quad injury.

Paul Geaney retains his place at corner forward with Tony Brosnan and Killian Spillane dropping to the bench.

In other news, Kerry will wear their traditional green and gold home jersey against Mayo for the first time since 2011. Both teams have sported their away kits whenever they have met in recent seasons but this time they opted for a toss of a coin, which Kerry won. Mayo will wear their black away shirts.

KERRY TEAM TO FACE MAYO

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses)

3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)

4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)

6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)

7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)

9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa)

11. Seán O’Shea (Captain – Kenmare Shamrocks)

12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks)

13. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)

14. David Clifford (Fossa)

15. Paul Geaney (Dingle)

Subs: S Murphy, T Brosnan, K Spillane, P Murphy, M Burns, J O’Connor, J Savage, G Crowley, D Roche, J O’Shea, S Okunbor.

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St Mary’s respond to coach’s claims about disbanded team

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St Mary’s Basketball Club Castleisland have refuted claims made by their former Super League coach surrounding the sudden disbanding of the team.

When the club decided to pull its Super League side citing a lack of numbers, coach Liam Culloty responded with a statement on Twitter saying that he and his players were “shocked and disappointed” with the move.

“Currently we have eight Irish players from around the county fully committed to playing Super League and we had hoped with the addition of one or two professional players along with some of the fantastic underage talent emerging in the county that we would have a squad more than capable of competing,” Culloty said.

“Alas, we were never given this opportunity to recruit further players to the squad.”

Culloty also expressed his dismay that he and his players were notified by text message.

“[There was] no effort made to meet the players and management informing them of the decision before it was released to the media on Saturday. The very least we felt we deserved was the opportunity to fight our corner and see could a solution be found to allow the team to stay in the league.”

The club issued another statement this week refuting some of Culloty’s claims, while also apologising for the manner in which the decision was communicated.

“Contrary to what is being portrayed by the statement on Twitter, St Mary’s is a local club and not a county set-up, i.e. not a Kerry team. It would appear from reading the statement that the coach had an ambition for this to be a Kerry set-up, yet this was something that was never brought up for discussion with St Mary’s who were financing the team.

“We are a club team, our first loyalties are to our club and club members. While we are, and always have been in the past, happy to welcome link players in, at no time during recent discussions had any individual player from any part of the county expressed to the club an interest to link or indeed transfer for next season. Conversations had been had with the coach regarding player numbers, the opportunity to recruit has been there since the end of the 2021/22 season.

“A phone call to the coach to inform him of the decision that had been made not to continue in Super League was placed on Friday, June 10. The call went unanswered and was not returned, due to the approaching Basketball Ireland deadline a text message was then sent. However, prior to this, the coach had been aware and involved in discussions and several club meetings were held around the issue.

“The club does regret that players were made aware of the decision by text message. The message thanked players for their dedication over the years and apologised that players were not being met in person. A committee member also phoned all players the following day.

“Team members have since been contacted again, apologised to for being told by text and have been given the opportunity to meet face to face if they wish.”

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