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O’Connor hails Kerry for adapting to stormy weather

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Adam Moynihan reports from the Fitzgerald Stadium

National League: Division 1

Kerry 1-13 Donegal 0-7

Fitzgerald Stadium

Jack O’Connor praised the manner in which his players handled the atrocious weather conditions after Kerry defeated Donegal by nine points in Killarney.

With Storm Franklin in full effect, The Kingdom opted to play with the strong wind in the first period and they built up a seven-point half-time lead.

The elements were in Donegal’s favour in the second period so a fightback seemed imminent, but the hosts held firm and ran out deserved winners.

“Our fellas showed a good attitude and they adapted well [to the conditions], as did Donegal to be fair to them,” O’Connor said. “Against the wind in the first 15 minutes, I thought they were excellent. At half-time you wouldn’t say the game was sealed by any stretch of the imagination - I don’t know what ye thought but seven points didn’t appear to us to be enough.

“So we knew we’d have to score a bit in the second half and I thought our fellas controlled the game pretty well.”

WRETCHED

It was a wretched afternoon for the brave souls on Fitzgerald Stadium’s uncovered terrace and the early pattern of play provided little by way of distraction.

Donegal’s into-the-wind tactic of holding possession at all costs was equal parts boring and frustrating; on several occasions the home crowd became audibly irritated as the visitors idly passed the ball over and back across the pitch. With goalkeeper Shaun Patton joining in to give them an extra man, there wasn’t much the Kerry forwards could do about it. One of the biggest cheers of the day came in the closing stages of the half when Adrian Spillane burst forward and shunted Patton to the ground.

In terms of actual football, i.e. kicking, Kerry settled quite nicely and racked up nine first-half points. Seán O’Shea’s spectacular sideline kick sent them on their way and further overs by Killian Spillane (two), Dan O’Donoghue, Paul Geaney and Paudie Clifford opened up a healthy half-time lead of seven (0-9 to 0-2).

At the other end, Donegal managed two fisted scores via Eoin Bán Gallagher and Shane O’Donnell. Even allowing for the gale force wind that was doing its utmost to blow them backwards for the entirety of the half, manager Declan Bonner must have been displeased with the fact that his team failed to register a single kick at the posts.

SUN

Luckily for Kerry, the sun burst through the clouds for the beginning of the second half, although conditions were still pretty dire out there.

The irrepressible O’Shea almost put the result beyond doubt within seconds of the restart but his sneaky attempt cannoned back off the foot of the post. Jack Barry nearly lobbed Patton shortly after but we had to wait until the 12th minute of the period to see a change on the scoreboard. Chris O’Donnell pointed for Donegal into the Lewis Road end to cut the deficit to six.

Jack O’Connor held his best player in reserve until the 44th minute but when he did come on, David Clifford was typically engrossing. There was more than a dash of good fortune about his 50th-minute goal – his attempt at a point dropped well short and somehow deceived the Donegal netminder – but in general he provided a much-needed spark during what could have been a very difficult half.

O’Shea almost goaled just seconds after Clifford’s effort but his shot cleared the crossbar, and then Shane O’Donnell and Paddy McBrearty brought it back to eight.

Clifford came within centimetres of snatching a second goal when his improvised soccer shot struck the underside of Patton’s bar. When Chris O’Donnell and McBrearty struck again, it was back to a six-point game with eight minutes to go.

The men from Tír Chonaill squandered a glorious chance to halve that gap when Ryan McHugh’s square hand pass forced McBrearty too far wide. McBrearty pushed the subsequent attempt at a point to the left and wide.

That was as good as it got for the Ulster side as a wonderful point by Clifford, sandwiched between two fisted efforts by O’Shea, capped a deserved nine-point win.

The result leaves Kerry joint first at the top of Division 1 with a tricky trip to Monaghan next on the calendar. That game will take place in Inniskeen next Sunday.

KERRY: S Murphy; D O'Donoghue (0-1), J Foley, T O'Sullivan; P Murphy, T Morley, B Ó Beaglaoich; D O’Connor, J Barry; A Spillane, S O'Shea (0-7, 2f, 1s), D Moynihan; P Clifford (0-1), P Geaney (0-1), K Spillane (0-2).

Subs: S O’Brien for A Spillane (13-22, 58), D Clifford (1-1) for K Spillane (44), T Brosnan for P Geaney (58), J Savage for P Clifford (65), G Horan for J Barry (66).  

DONEGAL: S Patton; C Ward, B McCole, EB Gallagher (0-1); R McHugh, P Brennan, O McFadden Ferry; J McGee, C Thompson; P Mogan, S O’Donnell (0-2), R O’Donnell; P McBrearty (0-2, 1f), H McFadden, C O’Donnell (0-2).

Subs: S McMenamin for P Brennan (41), N O’Donnell for R O’Donnell (43), O Gallen for H McFadden (50), D Ó Baoill for S O’Donnell (66), E O’Donnell for O McFadden Ferry (70).

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Glorious weather for Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships

It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough […]

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It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough Bay on Lough Lein.

Hundreds flocked to the Valley shore to see the coastal clubs of Kerry race in crews from Under 12 to Masters. As well as clubs from around the Ring of Kerry, there was a strong representation from the Killarney clubs with the Workmen, Commercials and Fossa wearing their colours with pride. The atmosphere, colour, fun and fierce competition produced a spectacular day that will live long in the memory.

The event was opened by the Councillor John O’Donoghue, vice chair of the Killarney Municipal District who congratulated Flesk Valley on their centenary, which occurred during 1920, and wished all of the clubs a successful day’s racing.

The first race was preceded by a special blessing of the boats by Fr Eugene McGillycuddy, who also remembered Brendan Teahan of Cromane Rowing Club in his prayers.

Afterwards John Fleming, chair of Flesk Valley, expressed his immense pride and satisfaction with the success of the regatta.

“It’s our first time ever hosting a regatta, but we wanted to do something special to mark our 102 years in existence,” he said.

“It was a lot of work, but we have a fantastic hard-working committee in Flesk Valley who really pulled out all the stops to make it happen, and we received fantastic support from our members, parents, other clubs and local businesses.”

John also thanked the Kerry Coastal Rowing Association, in particular Mary B Teahan and Andrew Wharton, and the staff of the Killarney National Park for all their support and encouragement in hosting this event.

This was a qualifying event and the Kerry clubs will be heading to Wexford next weekend to complete for honours at the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships.

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Live referee mics should be the norm – swearing concerns be damned

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by Adam Moynihan

I was disappointed to learn that the GAA are preventing TG4 from using their live referee mic in this Sunday’s Wexford hurling final.

(And not just because I had already written an article saying how great live referee mics are and how they are sure to be implemented across the board. Ctrl + A. Delete.)

TG4’s GAA coverage is superb and they raised the bar once again when they mic’d up referee John O’Halloran for the Kerry hurling final between Causeway and Ballyduff.

Pinning a microphone on the referee is standard practice in televised rugby and judging by the positive response to Gaelic games’ first foray into this territory, I was expecting it to become the norm.

It still might but, explaining their decision to The 42, the GAA said that they were not aware beforehand of the ref mic being trialled in Stack Park on Sunday.

“They believe such a development will require more discussion and education if it is to be implemented on a more regular basis in live TV coverage and could possibly need a policy change,” Fintan O’Toole reported.

The image of the Association is surely the primary concern here.

Players and managers – usually the worst behaved participants when it comes to things like swearing – will be among those who get “educated” on the subject. Some verbal abuse that might otherwise be muted for television viewers will, in all likelihood, be picked up by the referee’s microphone. You would imagine that the teams involved will be reminded of this the week of a televised game.

It also makes sense from Croke Park’s point of view to speak to referees and give them guidance on how to conduct themselves when the mic is on.

In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if senior GAA figures are currently fretting over the possibility of an agitated ref making headlines for something they say in the heat of the moment. And make no mistake about it, some match officials can eff and jeff with the best of them.

A friend of mine (a Wexford man, funnily enough) recalls an incident when a teammate was unceremoniously taken out of it by an opponent.

“Ah ref, for f***’s sake!” the victim complained.

“I gave you the f***ing free,” the referee replied. “What do you want me to do, slap him in the face with a wet fish?!”

The GAA might think that a referee swearing like that would leave all of us red-faced. In reality the clip would be a viral sensation and the general public would probably call for the official in question to run for Áras an Uachtárain. (He’d get my ****ing vote.)

The odd swear word from someone involved is bound to sneak through every now and then but you’d hear the same – and plenty more – at any match you attend from Cahersiveen to County Antrim.

Implementing the referee mic on a wider scale is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t appear to take a huge amount of effort or expense for the broadcaster to set it up and, more importantly, it offers a wonderful insight into the unknown.

Listening to referees explain their decisions in real time will clear a lot of things up for commentators, analysts and the media. We will no longer have to speculate about what they did or did not see, or what specific rule is being cited, or why.

Viewers, especially those who might be casual followers of the sport, will appreciate it too and become more educated; I know that’s how I feel when I watch rugby, for example.

It just leads to greater transparency and understanding.

Well done to TG4 and the Kerry County Board for being the pioneers. I’m sure others will follow their lead – as soon as the GAA allow them to do so.

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