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Killarney Valley enjoy historic indoor season



The rise of progressive athletics club Killarney Valley continues apace. As the indoor season reaches its conclusion, KVAC can proudly reflect on a historic few months that included sending men’s and women’s teams to the National League for the very first time.

The Killarney teams gave good accounts of themselves in Athlone and Dublin. The women’s team of Sarah Leahy, Melissa Ahern, Ellen Moloney, Alison Butler, Grace O’Meara, Rachel Griffin, Ciara Kennelly and Katlyn Moynihan finished 10th overall, while the men’s team of Connor Gammell, Sam Griffin, Karl McCarthy, Dara Looney, Oisín Lynch, Jason O’Reilly, Darragh O’Leary, Jordan Lee and Kevin O’Callaghan came 11th.

“The achievement of our club being able to cover so many events at this national level as a team was always an ambition of ours,” coach and committee member Tomás Griffin said. “The goal was to achieve this by 2024, so to achieve by 2022 gives us great heart that our sport is definitely on the rise in Killarney.”

In the Munster Championships held throughout February and March, KVAC athletes claimed eight individual gold medals and a relay team gold. They also won six silver medals and seven bronze.

At National Championship level the green and purple vest was definitely noticed for all the right reasons. KVAC had five national silver medalists this season, as well as seven bronze. Five KVAC athletes finished in the toughest of spots - fourth place - in national finals and two finished fifth. The national silver medalists were Sarah Leahy in 200m in both National Seniors and Irish Universities; Ciara Kennelly in National U23 and Irish Universities; and Jordan Lee in National U23s.

The National Bronze medalists were Sarah Leahy 60m and Irish Universities; Jason O’Reilly U17 400m; Oisín Lynch U17 800m; Keelin Veerasoo U17 triple jump; Michael Murphy Maters O55 60m; and Darragh O’Leary with UL’s cross country team.

“The over-arching theme for this indoor season has been the sense of ‘team’, even though athletics is viewed as an individual sport,” Griffin explained. “We can hold testament to the fact that when the culture and ambition is built on ‘We are Better Together’, then the future continues to be ‘KVAC Rising’.

Great credit must go to coaches Con Lynch (distance); Tomás Griffin and Alan Delaney (sprints, hurdles and jumps); Tom Doherty (throws); Bríd Stack, Jean Courtney, Jerry Griffin and Sylvyn Veerasoo (teens); and Kevin and Karen Smith, Amelie Leventi and both Anna O’Sheas (juveniles).


Ladies’ Semi-Final Preview: Armagh stand between Kerry and a third shot at glory



LGFA All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final

Kerry v Armagh

Saturday 7.15pm

O’Connor Park, Tullamore

Live on TG4

The Kerry ladies are just 60 minutes away from their third All-Ireland final in a row but they will have to bring their ‘A’ game to overcome the challenge of Armagh at O’Connor Park in Offaly later today.

The Kingdom have been installed as competition favourites after beating Meath (and after champions Dublin lost to Galway) in the quarters and they should be in confident form following that victory over the Royals in Tralee a fortnight ago.

However, they are unlikely to have it all their own way against an Armagh side who have beaten them twice already this season, in the league in March and then in the league final in Croke Park in April.

Losing star player Aimee Mackin to an ACL injury in the Ulster final came as a tremendous blow to the Orchard County. Mackin scored 2-6 (2-5 from play) and 1-4 (1-2) from play in the two games against Kerry this year so her teammates will have to make up the difference in her absence.

Kerry, meanwhile, have been buoyed by the return from an ACL injury of Síofra O’Shea, who scored 0-3 off the bench against Meath. The skilful trio of Danielle O’Leary (1-28, 3f), Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh (2-15, 9f) and Emma Dineen (4-5) have accounted for the bulk of the team’s scores this season with Hannah O’Donoghue and team captain Niamh Carmody also capable of finding the target.

Managers Declan Quill and Darragh Long will be hoping that this attacking threat coupled with the teak tough defending of Eilís Lynch, Deirdre Kearney and Aishling O’Connell will be enough to see them over the line. With the dependable Ciara Butler between the sticks, Kerry have kept three clean sheets in their last four games which is a record they would love to improve upon today.

Armagh, who haven’t played in a senior ladies’ football All-Ireland final since 2006, arrive at the semi-final stage on the back of wins over Meath and Mayo. Eve Lavery is their top scorer to date with 0-11 (7f) to her name. Blaithin Mackin, younger sister of Aimee, has chipped in with 1-5.

Kerry v Armagh will be preceded at O’Connor Park by the other All-Ireland semi-final between Galway and Cork. The Rebels last made the final in 2020 while The Tribeswomen are aiming to reach their first decider since 2019. Both counties lost to Dublin in those respective finals.

Galway v Cork starts at 5pm. Both matches will be shown live on TG4.

Kerry team to play Armagh: C Butler; E Lynch, K Cronin, C Murphy; A O’Connell, D Kearney, A Dillane; M O’Connell, A Galvin; N Carmody (captain), D O’Leary, N Ní Chonchúir; H O’Donoghue, E Dineen, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.

Armagh: A Carr; G Ferguson, C McCambridge (captain), R Mulligan; C Towe, L McConville, D Coleman; N Coleman, C O’Hanlon; E Druse, A McCoy, B Mackin; E Lavery, N Henderson, K Mallon.

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Jordan Lee vows to bounce back as injury ends 2024 Paralympic dream



Killarney high jumper Jordan Lee is determined to bounce back stronger than ever after announcing his withdrawal from the Paralympic Selection Process due to injury.

The Killarney Valley AC athlete, who represented Ireland at the Tokyo Games in 2021, was hoping to wear the green singlet again in Paris in August/September but he was forced to pull out “due to an injury that had developed over the past couple of weeks”.

“[To say that I’m] absolutely gutted is an understatement considering the season that we’ve just had and being ranked number 6 in the world rankings on the lead-up,” Lee said via Instagram.

“This is sport at the highest level and unfortunately this is an injury that couldn’t turn right in time for Paris which is only a few weeks away.”

The local lad went on to thank Killarney Valley and his coaches Tomás Griffin, Alan Delaney and Shane O’Rourke for their support, as well as his sponsors PTSB, Puma, Toyota, Kellihers Garage and Output Sports.

“To my family and my friends, I’ve always repped that Irish vest with the utmost pride, not just representing myself and my beautiful country, but my amazing family and friends that I have too. I love ye all.

“Wishing my teammates within Paralympics Ireland all the very best in Paris.

“Roll on 2025 for the Europeans. I’ll be back better and ready for vengeance. Believe that.”

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