Adam Moynihan reports from the Fitzgerald Stadium
National League: Division 1
Kerry 2-11 Tyrone 1-15
HT: Kerry 1-5 Tyrone 0-9
A goal and seven points from the boot of the irrepressible Darren McCurry fired Tyrone to a narrow one-point victory over Kerry in Killarney this afternoon.
McCurry, one of the All-Ireland champions’ All-Stars in 2021, kicked five points in the first period before adding two more points and a sensational goal in the second.
A penalty by Tony Brosnan, his second goal of the game, had given Kerry the lead prior to McCurry’s three-pointer at the three-quarter mark, but they failed to hammer home their advantage. Despite bossing possession in the closing minutes of the game, Jack O’Connor’s men failed to work a suitable scoring opportunity and the Ulster men held on for the win.
In the end, the result counted for little. Kerry already had two feet in the league final and results elsewhere meant that Tyrone would have been safe regardless. Nevertheless, Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan will be pleased to get one over on their fellow All-Ireland contenders. The victory represents Tyrone’s first win in Killarney since 2003.
Played beneath glorious sunshine and before a bumper crowd, this match had all the look and feel of summertime championship fare. Unfortunately for Kerry, their performance in the opening stages was far from championship standard.
With Darren McCurry getting plenty of joy down in front of the Lewis Road end of the ground, the Red Hand led 3-2 after 14 minutes. In truth, it could have been more.
Kerry were given a timely boost when captain Joe O’Connor, who was making his first start at senior level, showed off his powerful running style to set up the first goal of the game. The Austin Stacks man took an offload from David Clifford before bursting clear of the Tyrone defence. He then hesitated for a moment before opting to tee up Tony Brosnan, and Kerry’s No. 13 made no mistake from close range.
Points by Darragh Canavan and McCurry drew Tyrone level by the 21st minute and Kerry had a major let-off four minutes later when Conn Kilpatrick and Conor Meyler failed to capitalise on an error by Shane Murphy.
Kieran McGeary, McCurry, and Niall Sludden (two) nudged the visitors in front and as the clock ticked towards 35, Tyrone led by a goal.
Two cracking scores by David Clifford and Tony Bronsan narrowed the gap to give the home supporters some heart heading into the half-time break.
Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan fired over the first score of the second half from a 45 but Kerry would go on to dominate the third quarter. Stephen O’Brien pointed after being set up by the lively Brosnan, and then Brian Ó Beaglaoich somehow managed to weave his way through the opposition defence to swing over one of the points of the game.
McGeary responded for Tyrone in the 49th minute but moments later an intricate move that was instigated by a superb pass by Paudie Clifford led to a foul on O’Brien in the box. Tony Brosnan stepped forward to take the penalty and he coolly sent Morgan the wrong way to give Kerry a two-point lead.
Remarkably, Kerry’s lead lasted only a matter of seconds. Straight from the restart, Tyrone secured possession and Darragh Canavan picked out McCurry with a wonderful diagonal. The Edendork man spun away from his marker Dylan Casey and rifled a beautiful strike into the top corner of the net, and the visitors were back in front. It was the first goal Kerry conceded from play in 2022.
Two quickfire points by Paul Geaney and David Clifford edged Kerry back out in front in the 57th minute before Kilpatrick equalised with 10 minutes to play.
Another well-worked move that started with David Clifford forcing a turnover and ended with substitute Gavin White fisting over the bar again gave Kerry a one-point lead, but Tyrone reacted well. McCurry was on the money with two consecutive frees and when Peter Harte kicked a fantastic point from distance in the 68th minute, Tyrone led by two.
Geaney halved the deficit with a free two minutes later but Kerry were unable to snatch a draw during seven minutes of stoppage time. David Clifford uncharacteristically turned the ball over and then saw his ambitious effort blocked as Tyrone held on for a rare win on Kerry soil.
Kerry, nevertheless, advance to next weekend’s Division 1 final where they will face second place Mayo, who secured their spot thanks to an eight-point win over Kildare.
That result means that Kildare have been relegated to Division 2, and their neighbours Dublin will be joining them after they fell to a surprising defeat to Monaghan.
KERRY: S Murphy; D Casey, J Foley, T O'Sullivan; G O’Sullivan, T Morley, B Ó Beaglaoich (0-1); D O’Connor, J O’Connor; S O’Brien (0-1), J Savage, M Burns; T Brosnan (2-1, 1p), D Clifford (0-4, 1f), P Geaney (0-3, 2f).
Subs: P Clifford for Savage (HT), A Spillane for Burns (47), J Barry for J O’Connor (47), G White (0-1) for Casey (56), K Spillane for Geaney (70).
TYRONE: N Morgan (0-1, 45); M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; R Brennan, P Harte (0-1), F Burns; C Kilpatrick (0-1), R Donnelly; C Meyler, N Sludden (0-2), K McGeary (0-2); D McCurry (1-7, 4f 1m), C McShane, D Canavan (0-1).
Subs: L Rafferty for McNamee (temp 17-25), M Donnelly for Meyler (45), L Rafferty for M Donnelly (53), N Donnelly for R Donnelly (57), B McDonnell for McKernan (62), C McKenna for Canavan (69).
If Big Sam hates the present so much, why should we entrust him with Ireland’s future?
by Adam Moynihan
Yesterday, by complete coincidence, I consumed two pieces of media that focussed on brash, larger than life Englishmen.
For those unfamiliar with Brown’s work, “rude” is a very kind way of describing his frankly awful brand of outrageously offensive comedy. Many of his jokes cannot be repeated here but the narrator of the documentary sums him up well when he notes that, “on stage [Brown] uses themes that most other comedians discarded several decades ago”. He developed a significant following regardless, making millions of pounds off his live gigs, VHS tapes and DVDs.
I was struck by the many similarities between Allardyce and Brown, two controversial celebrities whose success has never been greeted with the acclaim they feel it deserves.
Allardyce is considered one of the leading candidates for the vacant Ireland managerial post and, when prompted by host Eoin McDevitt, he willingly threw his hat into the ring at a Second Captains live show in Dublin. The former Bolton, West Ham and England boss was initially given a warm welcome by the audience but McDevitt and co-hosts Ciarán Murphy and Ken Early subsequently pointed out that the atmosphere soured as the interview wore on.
Allardyce certainly has a tendency to rub people up the wrong way. He and Roy Chubby Brown have that in common. But that’s not where the parallels end.
Perhaps the most tangible link is both men’s aversion to foreigners. Brown frequently takes jabs at immigrants as part of his routine, while Big Sam is vociferously opposed to non-English managers and owners coming to the Premier League and, in his words, “pinching our jobs”. While Allardyce is obviously nowhere near as overtly xenophobic as Brown, that particular remark is exactly like one of Brown’s gags, albeit without the punchline.
Like Brown, Allardyce rails against modernity and refuses to accept that times change. He claims we have all been brainwashed into thinking that possession football is good in much the same way that Brown believes we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that taking the piss out of minorities is bad.
In taking that stance, they both reveal how out of touch they are with the majority of the population. (The classic Principal Skinner line “no, it’s the children who are wrong” springs to mind.) Instead of adapting their approach and moving with the times, they remain devoutly true to their methods, however outdated the rest of the world deems them to be. Emboldened by a small cult following of Little Englanders, they lack the self-awareness to realise why they are out of favour with everyone else. And they’re not for changing.
Allardyce, who lost his England job after just 67 days due to alleged professional malpractice, favours a direct style of football. There may be a time and place for such an approach but most people prefer to watch possession-based football, and most players prefer to play it. It’s not a global conspiracy to do old-style managers like Allardyce out of a job. “Tippy tappy football”, as Big Sam calls it, is popular for a reason.
In the documentary, Brown (then 61) laments the fact that he hasn’t been on TV in 18 years. The audiences at his live shows are dwindling and the money coming in isn’t covering his expenditure. But, of course, he and his material are not to blame. Society is the problem.
(The Middlesbrough native is still performing, incidentally, although earlier this year a number of his shows were cancelled. His manager accused venues of “bowing to the woke/snowflake pressure”.)
Allardyce’s best days are more than likely behind him too. His career peaked in the mid-2000s when he brought Bolton all the way to Europe. That was a fantastic achievement but in football terms it’s a lifetime ago.
As I reflected on the interview and the documentary, it occurred to me that giving the Ireland job to Sam Allardyce would, in a way, be like giving The Late Late Show job to Roy Chubby Brown. What message would that put out? What values would it promote?
More importantly, why should we entrust the future of Irish football to someone who clearly despises the modern game?
If that’s how he feels about the present, imagine how he’ll feel about whatever comes next.
Fossa on cusp of history as club from ‘nine square miles’ eyes senior status
Kerry IFC Final
Fossa v Milltown/Castlemaine
Austin Stack Park
Never before in the history of Kerry football has an Intermediate final attracted so much attention.
On Sunday, two clubs go head-to-head with a trophy and promotion on the line – but this high-profile encounter has far more riding on it than that.
In fact, the consequences of the outcome of this second-tier decider are going to be massive. If Fossa win, they will graduate to senior for the first time in their 53-year existence. It would represent a monumental achievement for the club from the small parish to the northwest of Killarney; few, if any, believed it would ever be possible given their lowly standing as recently as a few years ago.
With two generational talents at their disposal in the form of the Clifford brothers from Two Mile, they have rapidly risen through the ranks. Now they are seeking their second successive promotion following on from last year’s extra time win over Listry in the Junior Premier final.
And if the idea of Fossa going out on their own in the Kery Senior Football Championship wasn’t intriguing enough on its own, there’s more. A Fossa win would mean that East Kerry, winners of four of the last five titles, would lose their Fossa contingent for 2024. Most notable amongst that cohort are Paudie and David Clifford, unquestionably the district’s two most influential players.
There is plenty of intrigue from Milltown/Castlemaine’s perspective too. The Mid Kerry side are aiming to get back to senior level for the first time since being relegated in 2016 following defeat to Kilcummin in a playoff. They were not considered to be amongst the frontrunners for this competition before a ball was kicked, and possibly not after the group stage either, so victory this weekend would be sweet.
Of course, a Milltown/Castlemaine win would also have a huge bearing on the 2024 County Championship. Mid Kerry (runners-up in 2020, 2022 and 2023) stand to lose five starters if Milltown are promoted: Pa Wrenn, David Roche, Gavin Horan, Cillian Burke and Éanna O’Connor. Such a loss would greatly weaken their hand and widen the gap that already exists between them and the reigning champions. Add to that the fact that East Kerry will keep the Cliffords if Milltown/Castlemaine win, and the significance of this game is magnified further still.
There is so much at stake for all the invested parties in East and Mid Kerry, and there is plenty to consider for the neutral fan as well. Many would welcome the weakening of East Kerry’s squad as it would potentially lead to a more competitive County Championship. However, there is serious concern amongst Kerry supporters that the Cliffords are in need of a rest after a long couple of years with club and county. If Fossa prevail they will advance to the Munster Championship and possibly beyond if they manage to keep on winning. This would likely interfere with their star players’ off-season.
There’s no doubt that the nature of Fossa’s matches to date have whetted the appetite for this final. They were involved in exhilarating extra time victories over Castleisland and Austin Stacks in the previous rounds and more excitement of that nature would be more than welcome after a largely disappointing County Championship.
Milltown/Castlemaine also bring plenty to the table and although the momentum from their own semi-final heroics against Legion may have dwindled somewhat over the many weeks between then and now, they can certainly take heart from that result against one of the pre-tournament favourites.
It’s all set up to be a fascinating match-up and a large crowd is expected in Tralee for this one.
The match will also be streamed live by Clubber.
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