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).
Paudie Clifford returns and scores wondergoal as Kerry dismantle Monaghan
Adam Moynihan reports from the Fitzgerald Stadium
National League Division 1
Kerry 3-16 Monaghan 0-14
HT: Kerry 0-10 Monaghan 0-6
A spectacular second-half goal by surprise inclusion Paudie Clifford helped Kerry to an impressive 11-point over Monaghan in Killarney this afternoon.
The All-Star forward wasn’t named on the initial panel of 27 but when his name was called out as No. 26 before the game, a loud cheer rang out around the O’Sullivan Stand. Kerry fans had to wait until the 46th minute to see the Fossa captain make his first appearance of the season but it didn’t take him long to make his mark.
After soloing all of 80 metres, the elder Clifford dispatched a perfect finish beyond the reach of Rory Beggan to send Kerry nine points clear with 51 minutes on the clock.
In truth the game was drifting away from Monaghan before Clifford’s cameo but his sensational contribution made absolutely certain.
With two points on the board and David Clifford and Seánie O’Shea waiting in the wings ahead of Mayo away in two weeks’ time, Kerry manager Jack O’Connor will be a happy man leaving Killarney this evening.
Monaghan stayed in touch with Kerry for the first quarter, thanks in the main to a string of needless fouls that gifted the away team some easy scores.
Conor McCarthy broke the deadlock with one such free in the 6th minute and Tony Brosnan got Kerry off the mark two minutes later with a placed ball of his own.
The reliable Dessie Ward and Kerry’s bustling full forward Darragh Roche exchanged scores before Micheál Bannigan tapped over a free to re-establish the Farney’s early lead.
Kerry then went on a mini-run, instigated by a neat team move that saw Tony Brosnan and Micheál Burns combine to tee up the excellent Tom O’Sullivan for a close-in score.
Good work by Barry Dan O’Sullivan from a hop ball led to another Brosnan free, and then a high, skyscraper of a point from the stand side into the scoreboard end by Donal Down O’Sullivan gave the hosts a two-point lead.
However, two more avoidable fouls handed Monaghan’s free-takers McCarthy and Bannigan a point apiece and midway through the first half, the scores were level at 0-5 each.
The Kingdom finally began to inject some pace into proceedings in the second quarter with Dara Moynihan and Micheál Burns especially active. The All-Ireland champions scored five of the next six points with Roche, Brosnan (free), Moynihan, Donal Down O’Sullivan and Burns all hitting the target.
A tasty individual effort by Monaghan’s best forward, Conor McCarthy, left the scores at 0-10 to 0-6 at the break.
Monaghan’s good work in the first half was rather quickly undone in the second as Kerry exerted their dominance in all sectors. By the time Darragh Roche evaded Beggan and goaled in the 39th minute, the home side led by eight (1-12 to 0-7) and the result already appeared to be beyond question.
In fairness to Vinney Corey’s charges, they rattled off three unanswered points over the next 10 minutes – and they would have scored a goal but for a great save by Shane Murphy – but then Clifford’s introduction set the tone for the remainder.
Adrian Spillane’s goalbound effort was tipped over in the 49th minute (Spillane was the last of Kerry’s six forwards to score) and then Clifford gathered the ball inside his own 65, sprinted straight for goal, and finished emphatically to make it 2-13 to 0-10.
Things got worse for Monaghan four minutes later when Ryan O’Toole saw red for a high tackle on Stefan Okunbor. In the next attack, Tom O’Sullivan sauntered forward to drive a trademark outside-of-the-boot shot between the uprights and Kerry led by double scores (2-14 to 0-10).
Stephen O’Hanlon was one of Monaghan’s shining lights and he scored two of his three points in the final quarter, but they counted for little when all was said and done.
TG4’s Man of the Match Donal Down O’Sullivan capped a fine full debut with a nice goal in stoppage time as Kerry picked up their first league win of the season.
KERRY: S Murphy; G O’Sullivan, J Foley, T O’Sullivan (0-2); P Warren, T Morley, P Murphy; J Barry, BD O’Sullivan; M Burns (0-1), D Moynihan (0-1), A Spillane (0-1); T Brosnan (0-4f), D Roche (1-2), D O’Sullivan (1-3).
Subs: P Clifford (1-1) for Moynihan; S Okunbor for BD O’Sullivan; K Spillane (0-1m) for Roche, G Horan for Warren; R Murphy for A Spillane.
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; T McPhillips, K Duffy (0-1), R Wylie; C Boyle, D Ward (0-1), K Loughran; K Lavelle, C Lennon; S O’Hanlon (0-3), M Bannigan (0-3, 2f), J Wilson; C McCarthy (0-5, 4f), K Gallagher (0-1), S Carey.
Subs: D Treanor for Lennon; G Mohan for Wilson; T McPhillips for Lavelle; S Jones for Carey; S Slevin for Wylie.
Handball continues to shine in Killarney
By Con Dennehy Handball in the Killarney region can look back at 2022 as a year of continued progress, the promotion of handball in East Kerry and the introduction of […]
By Con Dennehy
Handball in the Killarney region can look back at 2022 as a year of continued progress, the promotion of handball in East Kerry and the introduction of the sport to a new generation.
It has been a phenomenal and successful year for the Spa Killarney Club. At the Annual General Meeting of the club this week, one of the highlights of the year singled out for mention was the hosting and promotion of a One Wall National Tournament which attracted players from all over Ireland to the Killarney venue in March.
There was joy for the home club at the tournament when Currow native and Spa Killarney Club member Aoife Walsh had an impressive victory in the highly competitive Ladies B championship.
There was also an international dimension for the club in 2022 when four players took part in the European One Wall Tournament in London. At this event Eoin O’Donoghue won gold in the Open Doubles B championship where he partnered with John Joe Quirke from Glenbeigh and Brendan O’Donoghue won a silver medal in the Over 40 Doubles final.
“As a new club we were delighted with the success we achieved in 2022. In January Aoife Walsh and Sinead Moriarty took home silverware in the highly competitive She’s Ace competition in Tyrone. This really was our springboard for success during the year and resulted in some of our players competing in the One Wall national finals in Roscommon in July. We are looking forward to an exciting 2023 and hopefully welcoming new members to the club,” said Eoin O’Donoghue, PRO of Spa Killarney Handball Club.
The club rounded off a memorable year in October when they hosted the Munster One Wall championships and the Kerry Handball Board AGM in November where club members Kieran O’Brien was elected president of Kerry Handball and Brendan O’Donoghue was appointed delegate to the Kerry GAA Board.
Officers Elected for 2023/2024: Brendan O’Donoghue (Chairman), Sinead Moriarty (Vice Chairperson), David Gillespie (Secretary), Eoin O’Donoghue (PRO) and James O’Brien (Treasurer).
Spa Killarney Handball Club will host an Open Night at the Spa GAA Club on Monday night (February 6). This will be an opportunity for attendees to savour the thrill of handball, have a taster game and meet the club players. It commences at 7pm and all over 18s are welcome.
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