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Mixed fortunes for St Paul’s in Week 1 of new National League season

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The St Paul’s men’s and women’s teams got their respective National League Division 1 campaigns up and running with a double-header in Carlow on Sunday last and they came home to Killarney with one impressive win and one disappointing yet encouraging defeat.

The Utility Trust St Paul’s ladies overcame the hosts, SETU Carlow, on an emphatic scoreline of 83-50 with new American signing Jess Huber racking up a whopping 35 points. Coach James Fleming was without the services of several GAA-tied players like Rheanne O’Shea, Leah McMahon, Lorraine Scanlon, Denise Dunlea and Cliona Coffey so the manner of the victory will no doubt be encouraging to him and his backroom team.

Huber dropped in 14 first-quarter points as the home team struggled to keep in touch early on. They trailed by 14 at half-time (40-26) and with Niamh Ní Chonchúir, Alexa Naessens and Lynn Jones to the fore, the Killarney side accelerated even further ahead in the second half.

When Huber nailed the final basket of the game – a three-pointer – Paul’s led by 33 points. The squad can be pleased with this opening day win; it serves as an early marker of their intentions for the 2023/24 season.

ST PAUL’S SCORERS: Jess Huber 35, Alexa Naessens 12, Niamh Ní Chonchúir 10, Lynn Jones 9, Meabh Barry 7, Mary Kate Smith 7, Tara Donnellan 3.

LAKERS

The St Paul’s men’s team, operating under the Scotts Lakers banner, also took on SETU Carlow on Sunday but they were unable to make it a double as they fell to a 12-point defeat (99-87).

Despite losing, the away team played with a competitive spirit, structure and purpose that could have led to a more fruitful outcome. They trailed by 11 points at half-time (61-50) but they came back into contention by the end of the third with new signings Terion Moss (25 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists) and Braden Bell (28 points, 8 rebounds) leading the way.

The deficit was just three points in the closing seconds of the period when a controversial buzzer-beater, plus a free throw, was awarded to Carlow.

Now trailing by six, the Lakers fought hard at the start of the fourth quarter, but the home side managed to plough ahead and capture the points.

Nevertheless it was a positive enough start for the Lakers with several young local players showing what they’re capable of. Jack O’Sullivan scored 13 points, Paul Clarke played a captain’s role and Jamie O’Sullivan also caught the eye. Ronan Collins will have benefitted from his first outing in a while and Mark Sheehan and Eoin O’Carroll added to their burgeoning reputations. Young Chris Healy made his National League debut while Oisín Spring again saw court time.

SCOTTS LAKERS SCORERS: Braden Bell 28, Terion Moss 25, Jack O’Sullivan 13, Paul Clarke 7, Jamie O’Sullivan 7, Eoin O’Carroll 6, Ronan Collins 1.

SATURDAY

Both St Paul’s teams are in action at home at the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday. The St Paul’s ladies host the Limerick Celtics 4.30pm and the Lakers will take on the Limerick Sport Eagles at the same venue at 7.30pm.

The Eagles will be a tough assignment; they have brought in Da’Kquan Davis and Keelen Coats, two quality players who combined for 68 points in their opening night win over the Titans.

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Opponent gets 10-match ban for using discriminatory language towards Kerry player

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A rival player has been suspended for using discriminatory language in a match against Kerry FC, the League of Ireland has confirmed.

The FAI’s Independent Disciplinary Committee handed Harry Curtis of UCD a 10-match ban for the offence, which took place during the game between the two sides in Mounthawk Park, Tralee last week.

Curtis was sent off in injury time. UCD won the game 2-1.

“An Independent Disciplinary Committee of the FAI has sanctioned UCD AFC player Harry Curtis for using discriminatory language towards a Kerry FC player in the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division fixture on 10 May 2024,” a League of Ireland statement read.

“The FAI and League of Ireland maintains a strict zero tolerance approach towards any act of discrimination and are committed to ensuring that League of Ireland matches remain a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.

“In accordance with FIFA Regulations and the FAI Disciplinary Regulations, Harry Curits will serve a 10-match suspension. Please note the decision of the Independent Disciplinary Committee may be appealed.”

Kerry FC issued the following statement welcoming the ban: “We condemn discrimination in football and are constantly working to kick it out of the game.

“Mounthawk Park and Kerry FC is a community where everyone is welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, and other diverse backgrounds.

“We would like to thank the Independent Disciplinary Committee in the FAI for their continued efforts and dedication to keeping discrimination out of the game.”

Last week Dundalk goalkeeper George Shelvey was also suspended for 10 games for abusing referee Rob Harvey.

Kerry FC were also involved in two alleged cases of racial abuse last season. In September, they claimed a Longford Town player aimed a “racial remark” at one of their players. The matter was referred to An Garda Síochána.

Earlier in the 2023 season, Kerry released a statement condemning racist online comments that had been made about the black players in their squad.

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TEAM NEWS: Kerry and Monaghan name starting 15s for Killarney showdown

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All-Ireland SFC Group 4

Kerry v Monaghan

Saturday 3pm

Fitzgerald Stadium

Live on GAAGO

Jack O’Connor has rewarded Munster final Man of the Match Tony Brosnan with a spot in Kerry’s starting 15 for Saturday’s All-Ireland group phase opener against Monaghan.

Brosnan kicked three points from play a fortnight ago and he retains his place in a forward division that also includes Dara Moynihan, Paudie Clifford, Seánie O’Shea, David Clifford and the recalled Paul Geaney.

Dingle veteran Geaney starts in place of youngster Cillian Burke, who drops to the bench.

Shane Ryan returns in goal instead of Shane Murphy while the back six and midfield remain unchanged from the seven-point victory in Ennis.

Graham O’Sullivan is a notable absentee from the matchday 26. The Dromid defender’s groin injury was described by O’Connor as “minor” after the Clare game, which O’Sullivan also missed.

Monaghan manager Vinny Corey has also named his side for tomorrow’s Sam Maguire encounter at the Fitzgerald Stadium and he has made five changes from the Farney Army’s last outing (the Ulster preliminary round defeat to Cavan on April 7).

Four of those switches come in attack as Stephen O’Hanlon, Micheál Bannigan, Michael Hammill and Seán Jones replace Garland, Irwin, Loughran and McCarron.

Experienced midfielder Darren Hughes, who was forced off with a knee injury in that match in Clones six weeks ago, is unavailable and is replaced by Micheál McCarville.

Rory Beggan starts in goal after a potential move to the Carolina Panthers in the NFL did not materialise. Talismanic forward Conor McManus will wear the number 15 jersey.

The last time these teams met was in the league at St Tiernach’s Park in February. Kerry prevailed on a scoreline of 3-15 to 1-12.

Tickets for Kerry v Monaghan can be purchased here for €25. Three-match bundles for the entire group stage are also available for €50.

The match will not be televised but it will be streamed on GAAGO.

KERRY TEAM

1. Shane Ryan

2. Paul Murphy

3. Jason Foley

4. Tom O’Sullivan

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich

6. Tadhg Morley

7. Gavin White

8. Diarmuid O’Connor

9. Joe O’Connor

10. Tony Brosnan

11. Paudie Clifford

12. Dara Moynihan

13. David Clifford

14. Seánie O’Shea

15. Paul Geaney

Subs: Shane Murphy, Cillian Burke, Seán O’Brien, Adrian Spillane, Barry Dan O’Sullivan, Dylan Casey, Stephen O’Brien, Mike Breen, Killian Spillane, Darragh Roche, Armin Heinrich.

MONAGHAN TEAM

1. Rory Beggan

2. Ryan Wylie

3. Kieran Duffy

4. Ryan O’Toole

5. Karl O’Connell

6. Killian Lavelle

7. Conor McCarthy

8. Gary Mohan

9. Micheál McCarville

10. Stephen O’Hanlon

11. Micheál Bannigan

12. Michael Hamill

13. Ciarán McNulty

14. Seán Jones

15. Conor McManus

Subs: Darren McDonnell, Jack McCarron, Stephen Mooney, Dessie Ward, Ryan McAnespie, David Garland, Jason Irwin, Andrew Woods, Barry McBennett, Joel Wilson, Thomas McPhillips.

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