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Opinion: GAA delegates talking out both sides of their mouths

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by Adam Moynihan

Like a lot of people, I was disheartened by the result of last Saturday’s vote on Plan B. I genuinely believe it would have been fantastic for the game of football. It had its flaws, of course it did, but it would have been so much better than the status quo.

What I found really frustrating about this episode were the inconsistencies in delegates’ arguments against the league championship proposal. Speaker after speaker said they were for change, that change was necessary, before asserting that this change was the wrong change. Well, what is the right change? The change that will suit every single stakeholder?

I truly doubt that such a panacea exists. Should we not focus on improving the situation rather than perfecting it?

HOPES AND DREAMS

For different reasons, I was disappointed with every county that spoke out against the proposal. Take Fermanagh, for example, members of the Ulster bloc who voted against Plan B apparently out of loyalty and attachment to the Ulster Championship. Tiernach Mahon of Fermanagh GAA said that "this motion has the potential to destroy the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Fermanagh people".

With all due respect to the people of Fermanagh, they haven’t won a single Ulster Championship in 133 years of competition, let alone an All-Ireland. If their hopes, dreams and aspirations have survived up to this point, surely they can survive a different type of championship.

Mayo GAA Chairman Liam Moffatt raised concerns about the sixth-place team in Division 1 not qualifying for the knockout phase while teams from lower divisions potentially would (via a playoff). Mayo are one of the best teams in Gaelic football and they have been over the course of the past 10-15 years. And here they are, worried about finishing sixth?

The fact that the Kerry County Board also flagged this sixth-place issue didn’t sit well with me as a Kerry supporter. What happened to that famous Kerry self-confidence?

In the last five “normal” iterations of the league (2016-2020), the team who finished sixth had a total of seven points or less. Basically, to finish fifth a team needs to win four games out of seven. And in three of the last five seasons, the fifth-place team only won three of their matches. If a team fails to win four or more championship matches in quick succession, they really don't have a right to be talking about an All-Ireland.

BACK SEAT

I have to say I haven’t been too impressed with Kerry’s attitude throughout this process. As the game’s most successful county, we should be leaders. We should be setting an example. Instead, our delegates took a back seat.

First they said they didn’t know how they would be voting, that they were waiting to be swayed by arguments on the day. As many of us predicted, there was nothing noteworthy said on the day that hadn’t been said in public over the past few weeks and months.

Addressing Congress, Tim Murphy urged the GAA to effectively kick the motion down the road. Delay the vote so there could be more discussion on the topic. A ‘no’ vote at this stage would be a “travesty”, he said. “All the work of the committee would go to waste.”

Yet Kerry reportedly proceeded to vote ‘no’ anyway (we don’t know for sure because there is zero transparency in these ballots). And then, immediately after, the Kerry GAA chair told the Irish Examiner that he was “very confident” that a tweaked Proposal B would pass in February.

The bottom line for me is this: Kerry players wanted Plan B. Kerry supporters, from what I can discern, also wanted Plan B. Tim Murphy assured us that the Kerry delegation would vote based on what was right for Kerry football. If “Kerry football” is not the team and the fans, then what is it?

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Paudie Clifford returns and scores wondergoal as Kerry dismantle Monaghan

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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.

GIFTED

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.

UNDONE

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.

Attendance: 10,232

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St Paul’s ladies’ contribution to club honoured

By Sean Moriarty St Paul’s Basketball club recognised the contribution of its ladies’ players during their National Basketball League home game on Saturday night. Since the start of the season, […]

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0249820_Ladies_Basketball_3.jpg

By Sean Moriarty

St Paul’s Basketball club recognised the contribution of its ladies’ players during their National Basketball League home game on Saturday night.

Since the start of the season, coach James Fleming has named his Most Valuable Player (MVP) after each home game.

The club presented each MVP award winner with a special trophy at halftime during the club’s tie with Dublin side Swords Thunder at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday.

Lynn Jones, who is one of the sport’s longest servants in Kerry, picked up her award from the Limerick Celtics game earlier in the season.

Rheanne O’Shea won the MPV during the Portlaoise Panthers match.

Yuleska Ramirez Tedja was the MPV against UL Sport Huskies last year.

Deise Dunlea was the most recent nomination for an MPV award and she also received her award on Saturday night.

The team also honoured their Irish International player Leah McMahon and presented Leah’s mother Anne with flowers as a thank-you for her support to the club.

“The dedication of these ladies is unbelievable, we have eight games in a row coming up, five at home and one each in Belfast, Cavan and Dublin and they are all working or studying,” manager Siobhan Bennett told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Coach James Fleming wanted to show his appreciation for this dedication.”

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