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Layoff concerns, Spillane v Spillane and injury updates: Jack O’Connor’s post-match press briefing

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Kerry enjoyed an easy win over Limerick in the Munster final last weekend. What did Jack O’Connor make of it all? Adam Moynihan was at the post-match press briefing to record the Kerry bainisteoir’s thoughts.

Of course, you’d probably prefer to get a stiffer test.

O'CONNOR ON THE ONE-SIDED NATURE OF THE GAME

We set out our stall, we had certain targets in the game, and by and large we met most of them. We only had three scores from eight attacks early on, so I thought we were a bit wasteful there.

But towards the end of the first half and the start of the second half in particular, we upped the ante. We were comfortable enough after that.

APART FROM THEIR SLOW START, THE KERRY MANAGER WAS PLEASED WITH HIS TEAM'S PERFORMANCE

I’m not too sure now. I’ve a bit of an idea that the Limerick corner back was gone AWOL there for some reason. I’m not too sure where he was. Killian seemed to be inside on his own.

O'CONNOR DOWNPLAYED THE SUGGESTION THAT KERRY'S GOAL WAS A TRAINING GROUND MOVE

Killian Spillane has been patiently waiting for his chance for a while and he kicked 1-3 from play, which was good. Killian has been going very well in training and we went with a very offensive team because we felt we’d have a lot of the ball.

Adrian Spillane (whom Killian replaced) has had a brilliant year for us so far and he’ll have a big part to play for us from here on in.

THE DROMID NATIVE ON THE reasoning behind replacing one Spillane brother with the other

Sure, of course people will talk like that, but what can we do? We just have to play the games that are in front of us and do as good as we can. That’s for somebody else to decide that.

The Kerry manager wouldn’t be drawn on the furore surrounding the lack of competitive matches in the provincial championships

Of course four weeks is an issue. That’s why the system next year is going to be fairer for everybody.

I’m not too concerned by the game today but I am relatively concerned about having four weeks off. I’ve gone on record as saying that we played eight games in 10 weeks in the league, and we’re playing three games in 12 weeks in the championship. Sure that can’t be right. That system had to be fixed.

O’Connor feels that next year’s championship structure will be an improvement

He picked up an injury against Cork. We weren’t being clever or anything, it just took longer than we thought. The medical advice was not to play him in this game. I’d say he’ll be doing a good share of training next week, hopefully.

David Clifford’s injury is not serious, the Kerry boss confirmed

What you’re trying to do is break it up for the players. It can become a bit routine if you’re coming in to Fitzgerald Stadium and training. That’s what we’re trying to avoid.

We played Roscommon last Saturday and it was a good game for us. We learned a few things.

I’d consider [having another challenge match before the All-Ireland quarter-final]. You’re running out of teams at this stage because, think about it, how many teams are going to be available? We’ll have a look at it.

ANOTHER CHALLENGE MATCH MAY BE ON THE CARDS

I’m more interested that the inside forwards score. When backs score it’s a bonus. Killian Spillane scored 1-3. Geaney scored four. Tony scored three. They’re your finishers and you want your finishers getting scores because it’s all about confidence in there.

ON KERRY'S SPREAD OF SCORERS (11 PLAYERS SCORED IN TOTAL)

He plays a defensive role in general but Jack Barry is a good footballer and he can play on the front foot as well. We just wanted to mind Jason [Foley] because he actually picked up a bit of a tweak during the week as well.

o'connor on jack barry switching back to full back

Unfortunately it looks like Dylan Casey might have jarred his ankle or something so I hope he’ll be okay next week.

the stacks man is an injury concern following the munster final

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Rising cycling star selected for Belgium Project

By Sean Moriarty Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders with ambitions to turn professional.

Northern Ireland-based Belgian Danny Blondell is the man behind the project.

For the last 15 years Blondell selects between four and six Irish riders and sends them to Belgium where they stay with local families and contest pro and semi-pro races.

As a race commentator Blondell is well placed to decide who is deserving of inclusion in the project.

Over the first six months of the year he makes decisions while attending early season races.

Those lucky enough to get selected go to live and race in Belgium for the second six months of the year.

Bolger, from Lewis Road, was selected after winning the junior race in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in Mayo in March and the Orwell Stage Race in County Wicklow in June.

“He is delighted, it is a very big deal,” his father Paul told the Killarney Advertiser.

“He has had a very good year and the wins in Mayo and Wicklow secured the Belgium Project.”

Bolger will head to Belgium in late July and after to the Junior Tour of Ireland which takes place in County Clare between July 12 and 17.

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The flying Kerryman who never forgot where he came from

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by Eamonn Fitzgerald

Tom O’Riordan RIP

Tommo (as he was affectionately known) died last week at the grand age of 84. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s for a number of years but the Ardfert native was as resilient in the face of his illness as he was when he was running.

He succeeded on many occasions in track and cross country races in Ireland and far afield, and he dealt with that health hurdle with typical stoicism, accepting the irony of his doctor’s prognosis: Parkinson’s won’t kill you but you will die from it.

I first met him in Belfield in the early seventies. While we were training hard with UCD football team he was on a training spin on the same campus.

His competitive career was over having represented Ireland in the 1964 Olympics. He didn’t make the final and he always said in later life that he was disappointed he didn’t make it because he knew he was good enough.

After those Olympics he was appointed as athletics reporter for the Independent. He also covered a lot of football matches and that’s where I got to know him. He was highly respected by players and managers. They trusted him, knowing that he wouldn’t betray confidentiality and publish half-truths or training session secrets. In particular, Mick O’Dwyer gave him carte blanche to the Kerry training sessions. He became a great friend of Páid Ó Sė, who was a regular visitor to his home in Dublin. I have no doubt that he convinced Páidí to use some of those merciless runs up hills to build stamina. Ask the Westmeath men! Tom used these quite a lot in his training for cross-country races.

Heffo didn’t give him the same open-door policy as O’Dwyer did. At Parnell Park, the Dub’s boss operated a closed-doors system for the Dublin training sessions.

Tommo first hit the headlines as a student in his native Kerry and then secured an athletic scholarship to  Idaho University. He impressed, winning races in the majority of the US states.

He was a winner in Ireland on track and cross country, breaking at least 14 Irish records.             

He was very influential as manager of the Irish  cross country team in Limerick preparing John Treacy for victory. They became great personal friends and Treacy often stayed with O’Riordan.

He was a fine journalist and stories abound of him running and double jobbing by covering the particular race for the Indo. More often than not he was writing about a race where he was the winner but he was anything but a self publicist.

He had deadlines to meet so he would create the report and then seek out the nearest telephone to file his report while still wearing his running gear. His son Ian O’Riordan is also a very fine reporter of athletics for the Irish Times.

May Tommo rest in peace.

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